Supper club host Lisa Harris knows how nerve wracking that first dinner can be. Here Stylist and Campo Viejo talk to her to get her 5 top tips to getting it right first time…
Lisa and her boyfriend set up Scotch+Ginger three years ago with a shared passion of gathering people around a table to share good food, great wine and even better conversation.
After hearing about supper clubs and loving the idea, Lisa was curious if she could do it herself - and couldn’t believe it when a load of strangers came to eat her food.
Lisa isn’t alone in understanding the joy of cracking open a bottle and turning supper into an experience, with Spanish wine Campo Viejo long claiming it as one of their founding values.
Today, they’re still all about the spirit of sharing and bringing people together over good wine, good food and good conversation.
But how do you put those ideas into action?
Here’s what Lisa learned along the way to becoming a supper club host.
1. Get your friends involved
Don’t be shy asking friends to help with serving, cooking – and washing up!
It’s also really helpful if a friend takes official photographs on the night, as you’ll be busy in the kitchen. Pictures will really help get the word out there, whether it’s through your site or on Instagram.
Ask friends to buy a ticket and bring someone you don’t know, so word spreads more organically.
You can sell tickets on a supper club platform like Eatwith, so guests can pay securely. Share it on all your social networks, and ask friends to do the same.
Our first supper club was filled with friends and family, but by our third event our friends couldn’t even get a ticket.
2. Sharing is pairing
Include drinks in the ticket price, so you can pick the best wines and make it an integral part of the experience.
Wine should reflect the ethos of your event, so choose a taste that’s made for sharing.
We often serve Campo Viejo because it’s vibrant and versatile, and it comes from a sustainable, carbon-neutral winery.
Their ethos reflects ours - originating from Rioja back in 1964, the wine was founded by three winemakers, Juan Alcorta, Jose Ortiguela and Jose Bezares, who wanted to share their creation not only with the people of the next village at a time when people only drank wine from their own region, but with the people of the next town, the rest of Spain and ultimately the world who would break bread and drink wine together.
Their wine is made for sharing and choosing their blends that pair with multiple courses is always useful, as it allows guests to take their time. A fresh Campo Viejo Tempranillo is perfect to welcome guests, and it’s an elegant companion for a tapas-style starter too.
The smoky warmth of Campo Viejo Gran Reserva pairs perfectly with a casserole or slow-cooked meats, but it’s also delicious with dark chocolate and coffee desserts.
3. Give guests something they don’t expect
People come to supper clubs because they want a memorable experience. Try including unexpected flavour combinations in your cooking, or serve an unusual wine like a white Rioja.
Serve sharing dishes and put a bottle of Campo Viejo on the table, so guests can help themselves.
Passing plates and a bottle of wine makes everyone feel at home, and they’ll soon be passing stories around the table, too.
4. Do what you love
You don’t have to start cooking like a Cordon Bleu chef, just because you’re selling tickets.
Cook food you have an emotional connection with – guests would rather eat homely, delicious food than something complicated and poorly executed.
The same goes for venues – host your first supper club at a small venue you’re comfortable in, maybe only serving 10 to 15 people, and you’ll enjoy it more.
5. Do it again
Once the adrenalin has subsided, you’ll soon be planning your next supper club.
Book in three more dates (about once every 6 to 8 weeks is usually about right), and share details with previous guests and on social media to spread the word.
You’ll feel such a sense of achievement after hosting a supper club, and nothing warms the heart more than seeing people round a table enjoying your food. Supper clubs are a unique way to meet new people, and share your creativity and passion for good food and wine.
So what are you waiting for? Get the Campo Viejo in and get cooking.
Lead image credit: James Delaney