Not being funny love, but who are you?
I am Ms Marmite Lover, and along with one other person I basically started the supper club movement in London in January 2009.
How did all of that come about?
It was after a holiday in Cuba where I visited the paladares ‘home restaurants’. I thought this would work really well at home- initially I thought for tourists to get a sense of the real London, but as it happens all sorts of people come along.
Most of the tourist visitors come from Singapore and Hong Kong. They seem to be real foodies, there a lot of supper clubs in Hong Kong.
I also run the ‘Supper Club Fan Group‘ this is probably the most comprehensive list of supper clubs worldwide.
Sounds like a bit of an adventure, what have been the ups and downs?
It has been quite exciting getting media attention, it took me aback at first- the Guardian turned up at the very first event which was strange because apart from mentioning it on my blog I hadn’t done any advertising.
Going on programmes like the One Show was really good fun, I got to meet Jay Rayner, but it is really stressful when you are in full flow of service and someone is there with a camera in your face.
Also its really really hard work, I love it as I am a grafter, but the catering trade in general is hard work, its long hours on my feet, and this has now become my full time job, I do a supper club every week.
So what is next for you?
I am currently in the process of promoting my book that came out in April. It’s a combination of notes and 120 of my own recipes. There are chapters on how I set up my own supper club and there is also information about other supper clubs across the world.
I also want to encourage people to open their own supper clubs. There are loads in London, but it would be great to see some more elsewhere in the country. It’s a great entrepreneurial idea especially for women to run a supper club. I love the idea of turning hobbies such as baking into small businesses. As part of this I am running an ‘Underground University’ conference on the 21st May that people can attend if they are interested in getting help and support in setting up their own venture.
How did you find Leeds and Bake Lady’s tearoom, how does it differ from London and the supper clubs there?
I hadn’t been to Leeds before and I have not had enough time to really explore everything I wanted to. I did notice how everyone is friendlier Up North.
Men especially are very friendly. London men are quite cold. I had a conversation with a big burly taxi driver in Leeds about my fascinator. Men wouldn’t do that in London for fear of being perceived as gay.
When I have run afternoon teas in London the attendees mostly are women and gay men. Straight men only come if they are dragged along by their partners. I was really surprised how in Leeds that there were so many straight men who happily came along for a bit of tea and cake.
I have wanted to visit the Underground Tea Room for ages. Lynn is a fantastic baker, it was nice to look around her garden and meet the family. I found her really down to earth, and friendly. She is very supportive of me and what I do- we talk on almost a weekly basis but this is the first time we met.
I also visited Sunshine Bakery and Nouveau Cakes in Huddersfield. There are a lot of talented bakers in the area.
I have visited supper clubs all over the world, including those in Paris, Berlin and New York- every single supper club is different and that is what is so fantastic.
If I came back to Leeds I would love to spend more time on food based activities, as I didn’t spend nearly enough time on this, this time.
Have you got any advice to someone wanting to set up a supper club?
Do it! Its hard work but with energy comes more energy, commit to it and you will reap dividends.
Anything else to add?
Yes, can you please add that I am not a cunt just ‘cause I’m from the South …no but you did let slip that you were born in Hull…
We have a signed copy of Kerstins book ‘Supper Club: Recipes and notes from the underground restaurant’ to give away. To enter just tell us in the comments section below… Who would you like to meet at a secret supper? Answers by 26th of May.