Growing up, family dinner was non-negotiable. Whether my mom was making a homemade feast or we were ordering pizza, everyone in our family was expected to come together around the dinner table. Our angsty teenage years led to a number of dinners where we’d end up sitting in silence, but more often than not it was a time for us to not only nourish our bodies, but also connect with each other at the end of each day.
My mom’s determination to bring us around the table every night instilled a lifelong desire to host dinners myself. Since I don’t have kids, that usually means lots of friends at our dinner table: we can be silly, we can be serious, we can talk about work or family or the funny Instagram we saw that day. It’s a space where nothing feels out of place – a space where everything and everyone is welcome.
A supper club is the perfect way to make sure months don’t pass without connecting with your friends in this way. It brings consistency for the same group of people to gather, talk about life, and enjoy a fantastic meal.
It can feel intimidating to start and commit to a new supper club gathering, so I’ve put together your step-by-step guide, along with some tips for hosting your very first supper club meeting.
The Hosting Space
Connection can happen in any space, but it’s important that you evaluate where you’ll host your club so you can create a warm, welcoming environment.
Revolving vs. Set Location. Some people opt to rotate locations. If all your guests like to host, that’s great! But I find it easier to stay consistent and choose one location so that no one mistakenly goes to the wrong house. Plus, not all of my friends have homes that are conducive to a supper club, so it’s easier for them not to feel pressure to host.
Frequency. If you’re the only host, it’s important to be honest with how much is too much. Does it require a good deal of preparation for you to host? Does it stress you out to have people in your home? If so, it’s probably a smart idea to host supper club every other month. But if you’re someone who loves hosting others, once a month might be just the ticket. I believe monthly or bi-monthly clubs offer the perfect cadence: not too often, nor too infrequent. Just right.
Numbers. How many people you invite to join the supper club is important. With too many guests, it will be harder to connect with everyone. But you also don’t want to have too few people. With that in mind, 6-10 total guests is a great number to shoot for. Of course, you should also be mindful of how many people your space can readily accommodate.
The people. This is the fun part. You could choose your best friends or a handful of friends that have never met before. Maybe you want the food to be the star of the show and only want to invite those who love good food as much as you. Or maybe there are friends you’ve been wanting to get to know on a deeper level: so invite them! The only recommendation I have is to choose people that will commit to your supper club and be as excited as you are about it.
The main. Most often, the host handles the main dish and guests bring sides and dessert. But if your supper club will regularly be hosted at the same house, I recommend having the host provide the main the first few times and then rotating main dish duties moving forward. One helpful tip when cooking for meat eaters: most people eat about 1/2 pound in a sitting.
The rest. I’ll be honest – I’m a control freak. So I like to decide on the main, let my guests know the type of cuisine being served and then get them on a group text to decide exactly who will be bringing what. But you could always let your guests have free rein and keep their contribution a surprise. Wow, that stressed me out just typing it!
The breakdown. It can be hard to know how much food is needed, so I’ve broken it down for you.
– 6 people: the main (2 people), side #1 (one person), side #2 (one person), dessert (one person), beverages (one person)
– 8 people: the main (2 people), side #1 (one person), side #2 (one person), side #3 (one person), dessert (one person), beverages (2 people)
– 10 people: the main (2 people), side #1 (one person), side #2 (one person), side #3 (one person), side #4 (one person), dessert (2 people), beverages (2 people)
The logistics can sound a bit complicated on the front end, but once you’ve got the details nailed down, you can focus simply on relaxing and enjoying your time with your group.
One last thing: I’ve found that the best supper clubs happen when someone spends a little time prepping for the most important part: the conversation. Camille recently wrote about how to be a good conversationalist (hint: questions are key.) With the guests you’ve invited in mind, read through her post and plan for specific questions you can ask to get the conversation flowing.
So there you have it: everything you need to start a supper club of your very own. Good food, friends, and conversation – really, what more could you need?