By Marcus Anthony Gray
An incoming wave of talented home cooks seems to have crashed with an outgoing wave of an audience hungry to be close to these cooks and their craft. In their wake we are left with a resurgence of private supper clubs.
I’ve been fortunate to experience this type of dining from the roof tops of New York City to home-cooked family meals in the southern Spain. It’s about the food, but it’s also about the closeness that occurs when being able to break bread with other people who share the same passion and respect for a well-crafted meal.
Heather Somani is one of these culinary enthusiasts. She began Eat + Drink a year ago and has now hosted several supper clubs at her home. We recently chatted about what it means to be a host of a supper club today.
MG: What was your inspiration for starting E+D?
HS: I had been brainstorming a small business idea with a girlfriend related to food, wine, spirits, and entertaining. Unfortunately, my friend had to back out, and I didn’t want to move forward without her. So instead, I started a blog, wrote some some restaurant reviews, and generally suggested places for people to eat. Then, while at a nine-course pop-up dinner, I came up with the idea of combining a pop-up restaurant with a supper club – the location stays the same but the chef, food, wine, etc. changes.
MG: What were your initial challenges?
HS: I think the initial challenges were understanding what people were interested in and in what configuration. I tried smaller groups, and on different nights, but in the end I realized that Saturday nights with 42 people is the right set-up for us.
MG: And ongoing?
HS: I think my ongoing challenge is to simply make everything work seamlessly in my life – work, family, home AND Eat+Drink!
MG: What’s the next step for E+D?
HS: I want to continue advancing my partnerships with artisans, designers and like-minded people. We’ve begun bringing in items that are useful to us and attractive to our members. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Eat + Drink Supper Club, June
Chef Richard Wilson
Wine by Ted and Kim Osborne from Olabisi Wines:
Bruschetta over mascarpone mousse with a balsamic reduction on sour dough baguette
Asiago Prosciutto wrap with a sprig of basil over multi-seed flat bread
2010 Olabisi Napa Chardonnay
Baby head mixed greens, roasted baby beets, artichoke hearts, nicoise olives, feta cheese, dressed with a lemon vinaigrette
2011 Olabisi Carneros Chardonnay
An Olabisi Napa Red
Photos: Ross Pollack