During the summer of 2011 I hosted a supper club at my studio. It was a collaboration with my friend metal engraver, keen carnivore and great cook Ruth Anthony. After the butchery of 2009 and 2010 it was decided we wanted to try something new. We decided at new year that we wanted to host a bbq, and woud spit roast a suckling pig. I'm not sure how or when this turned into 'let's invite people via twitter to come and dine at my studio, and we'll cook a different beast and shall serve a four course meal to twenty five to thirty people each time ' but it did. And as well as being blindingly hard work, I thoroughly enjoyed this ridiculous venture.
Ruth blogged about the food here: www.queensofcue.wordpress.com Clearly cooking was a driving force for the project, but for me there were other motivators.
Creating spaces that welcomes a group of strangers and invites them meet and interact; a place imbued with a sense of festivity and easy friendliness. We worked together to make a menu that encouraged sharing and had 'show' moments- so our starter courses were often a series of canapes eaten on the roof terrace or large sharing platters in the dining room. Sometimes we processed through the room with the cooked beast aloft. Off-menu amuse bouche or mouthfuls of granita were served, as were welcoming cocktails; these little surprises added to the fun.
I presented the dining space so that it would look beautiful without being too 'proper' or 'stiff'. Large, long tables were dressed with table cloths, napkins, simple matching tableware and jam jars of flowers and candles.
We posted signs on the roads from the train station to point the way, given that my studio is in the waste lands between south bermondsey and surrey quays few people had any idea of where they were going. This way-showing added to the sense of 'event' as well as making sure no-one got lost.
A few of the people who joined us on this journey wrote about it on their blogs:
It's heartening to see that they 'got' what we were trying to achieve.
As ever I wished I had time to take photos when doing stuff, but I find I'm too busy doing stuff. But I guess that's what makes events like this fun, there are snippets recording it, but much of it - and much of the stuff that made it magic- is fleeting, and lives only in stories and memories.