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Host The Perfect Supper Club With Chef Ali Pumfrey
Host a memorable supper club with Ali's three top tips, including a bespoke starter recipe.
4 Min Read
We've teamed up with the talented Ali Pumfrey, a Bristol-based chef who celebrates seasonal food steeped in flavour. With an appetite for entertaining, Ali has hosted her very own supper club at independent delicatessen Starlings using gifts from The Wedding Shop. Expect a candlelit tablescape dressed with romantic styling and personal touches. Plus, a bespoke starter menu. Bon Appétit!
Supper Clubs have surged in popularity over recent years as they create the atmosphere of a fully functioning restaurant but within a relaxed social setting. Hosted in cafes or people’s homes they provide an opportunity for human union over food. Gathering for a moment in time to enjoy a feast, both friends and strangers are part of a shared experience. The menu is the focal point of the evening, where ingredients, flavour and nourishment can be cherished.
When it comes to hosting a supper club, anywhere goes, and I have learnt the most from the quirkier locations. From a medieval castle to a festival tent, the careful consideration of the small details transforms the event from being ‘good’ to ‘extraordinary.’ Understanding your unique selling point, and why you have gone to all this effort to host an event, is key and will help you decide what those small details are.
A great starting point is to consider the layout of the table and how items will be served, this will inform the choices regarding the style and feel of the tableware. I have devised three top tips for producing an event to create long-lasting, special memories for you and your guests.
Tip 1: Let The Food Do The Talking
Let the food do the talking and your table setting can create the atmosphere. The menu choice will inform the style of your plates. For example, a sharing menu will require larger centre-piece dishes. I find it is always easier to present food on flatter plates and save the bowls for grains and salad leaves. Another important consideration is the temperature of the food, as the flatter the dish the less heat the food will retain. Therefore, ensure it is warmed before plating up.
Tip 2: Add A Personal Touch
Allow your guests to gain an insight into you, your personality, and your approach to food by adding a personal touch. Handwritten menus and place holders are a friendly welcome to guests, setting a cosy and warm feel to the evening before they have even sampled the food. Introduce the dishes, describing everything from the flavours to the combinations of ingredients used. Allowing your guests to mentally travel through the kitchen with you will provide a real chef insight.
Tip 3: Create An Amuse Bouche
Surprise your guests with a small taster or amuse bouche that they were not expecting hidden amongst the table setting. For example, how about spice-roasted nuts in a tea light holder, or sourdough and whipped smoked butter boards to help entice guests to the table.
It is a well-known fact that we not only eat with our taste buds but also with our eyes, and so a well-presented table setting is key to planning the perfect supper club. The combination of your service gear should also be considered, including how their colours and patterns will affect the feel of the evening. In an ideal situation, the colour palette of the tableware will enhance the food, not only in terms of the way it looks but also the flavour.
Once the table is set, the hardest part of all begins; the cooking. All the hard work is then paid off for that winning moment - hearing the buzz of energy filling the room as the plates go down and everyone enjoys the specially crafted concoctions.
Ali's Bespoke Starter Recipe
Fava Bean & Ewes Cheese Dip with Beetroot and Pickled Radish Dressing
Fava Bean & Ewes Cheese Dip
300g Dried Fava Beans
50g British Pickled Ewes Cheese (or substitute for Feta)
1 Lemon (juice)
1 Garlic Clove (crushed)
4 tbsp Olive Oil
20g Mint (chopped)
Salt and Pepper
Cook the beans in boiling water until soft (about 30-40 mins). Drain and allow them to cool. Place the cooked beans, ewes cheese, lemon juice, crushed garlic clove, olive oil and a good pinch of salt in the blender and blend until smooth. And more oil or water if it needs to be a little runnier. Check for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped mint. Top tip: Make the dip the same consistency as hummus, so that the purple sprouting broccoli will sit on top of it.
Beetroot and Pickled Radish Dressing
175ml Apple Cider Vinegar
60g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
6 Radish (finely sliced)
1 Purple Beetroot (tiny dice)
1 Golden Beetroot (tiny dice)
8 tbsp Olive Oil
Add the apple cider vinegar, caster sugar, salt and coriander seeds to a small saucepan. Slowly melt the sugar and remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to infuse for a least 1 hour or overnight is best. Once the mixture has infused, strain it to remove the coriander seeds. Add the sliced radishes, tiny diced beetroots and olive oil. Allow the dressing to marinade for at least 30 minutes before using as the flavours will develop with time.
And there you have it! Ali's best advice for throwing a memorable supper club. We hope we've satisfied your appetite for great food and beautiful tablescapes.
If you're using your wedding gift list for hosting, here is a sneak peek of our most popular tableware. Ali chose Nkuku and The Colombia Collective to style her table. Both these brands celebrate the unique craftsmanship found in artisanal design. She layered glazes with natural textures to create a relaxed and intimate feel. Mixing materials and finishes in one hue is a great tip when styling and will help you build a cohesive tablescape rich in texture.