Sunday, 14 August 2011

What's it like to be ... a Supper Club host?

Okay so now I've been to a couple of undergound supper clubs I can understand why people may go to them.  The next obvious question is why host one? Seems like a lot of hard work to have people come over to dine at yours - I mean I really enjoy cooking and throwing dinner parties but doing it on a regular basis for strangers is definitely not for me.

May I introduce you to Ms Uyen Luu, blogger, writer and host of LeLuu and the Supper Club in London (ps.  I mentioned Ms. Luu in one of my earlier blogs 'To Pho or not to Pho')

My vitals
Uyen Luu
Host of LeLuu and the Supper Club (
Hackney, London, UK

My background
I graduated from film school and didn't quite feel ready to get a job in the film industry so went into retail and started my own fashion shop/designer boutique.   Soon realised it wasn't for me and then started a blog, dabbled into dinner parties and from that, the supper club was born and proved to be more successful than my fashion shop so shut up shop to do the supper club full-time.  On the back of my supper club and reputation, I now do a lot corporate events for clients including, Ryvita, Courvoisier, Jordans and SeeWoo.   I also do alot of foodie networking which wouldn't have been possible without the supper club and my blog.

My heart said
Do something you really love - I really enjoy blogging, writing and dabbling in other things like photography and cooking - the supper club allows me to do all these things by providing me with a source of income, various contacts and enriching life experiences.

My head said
How do I do something I love that pays the bills? - I can make the supper club work - it's tricky trying to get diners to come to yours as opposed to a restaurant or another supper club but I started early.  My supper club started in 2009 and I worked hard on establishing a good reputation from the outset and a good foundation is key to good business - repeat diners and positive recommendations.  I have one diner who's been to my supper club 15 times!

My job involves
Ordering food, cooking, managing and hosting a supper club for about two dozen people in my home twice a week.  I also run a cookery class and blog about food related stuff and experiences I've had through my work.  I also enlist the help of my mother with cooking and my brother with waiting tables and dishwashing.

My highlights
Meeting and working with Jamie Oliver on a charity event - he is amazing and truly passionate about food and cooking.  Meeting varied and interesting people at my dinners is fun.  It seems to attract a wide range of people such as girl from Trinidad who was drop dead gorgeous and told the funniest jokes so everyone in the room was in stitches all night. Atmosphere at a supper club is important so far, I've been lucky and everyone usually gets along.  I guess everyone being around the same age helps (typcially mid 20s to late 30s), so they should have a few things in common and they must like Vietnamese food to come along!

My lowlights
On one rare occasion rude diners.  They didn't like anything from the moment they arrived - from the decor to the food - that wasn't a pleasant evening for anyone.  Otherwise, it's pretty hard work running a supper club and getting all the food bought, prepared, cooked and delivered to diners in a timely manner, trying to please everyone and ensuring everyone has a good time - but everything's hard work isn't it?  That's just part of life.

My mantra
Do good for others and make the most out of opportunities given.  I also recently saw a movie called 'Thankyou - More Please' - for some reason the expression stuck with me. I like the idea of cooking good food, someone really enjoying it and wanting more.
My ideal happiness
I'd really love to make a film one day once I have more life experience under my belt or even a story cookbook with photos and stories behind the recipes.  A project that could combine writing and making a film would be my dream.

My last word
Like all things in life - you want to get somewhere you have to be prepared to work hard.  If you love cooking then hosting a supper club is hard work but really fun and the rewards are worth it.