Women don’t usually need an excuse to get together – but back in 2008, I was the queen of starting clubs as a major tactic to schedule regular hangs with my gal pals. I started bookclubs, breakfast clubs, and my long-standing supper club. I was inspired by the upswing of new Calgary restaurants starting to pop up, and I loved the idea of celebrating the value of friendship, bonding over good food, and connecting on a regular basis in amongst busy schedules.
In our upcoming Fall/Winter issue of Dote Magazine (launching November 23rd), we explore “How to Host A Supper Club.” This shoot and planning was especially fun for me, as I reminisced on all the reasons why I started mine ten years ago.
Our fantastic group of four consists of my life-long friends Cheyanne, Kristin, and Sarah. Our foursome has managed to come together scheduling a monthly dinner (almost every month), either at a new restaurant in Calgary or in one of our homes. Dining out, cooking together from the same cookbook, or ordering in is decided upon a couple weeks in advance. We pick our date and make a reservation or plan the menu; it’s as easy as that.
I tend to be the one hearing about new restaurants opening, so I gladly took on the role of restaurant scout. I’ve loved experiencing these culinary treasures with great friends. It was a perfect excuse to exit out of our daily roles and just be in each other’s presence, and who doesn’t love someone else doing the cooking and the cleaning up? It’s a night I look forward to every month, and it holds a special place in all our hearts knowing we’ve made each other a priority over the course of the last decade.
When going to restaurants we usually share a bunch of plates, which makes for a dynamic dining experience – sampling each other’s cocktails and helping each other branch out and try new things is always fun!
In those ten years, I’ve moved to Vancouver for a short stint and my friends have had 10 kids between them. Our bond has only grown stronger, and these women are like sisters to me.
We laugh now, as we usually all end up ordering the gourmet burger at nearly every restaurant we go to. I think we’ve officially transitioned to a Burger Club.
For our respective birthdays we plan fun surprises like group gifts, or special cakes or desserts, and at Christmas we started the tradition of each of us buying one of our favourite things times three and gifting each other with a small token of what we love most.
There’s no hard and fast rules about starting a supper club. You can play host, planner, cook, or guest. Either way, the draw is friendship and cultivating lasting memories and bonds. I’ve been personally inspired by my friends at Dade Loft who play great hosts and bring together a variety of people with the most beautiful, themed, well-designed tabescapes and menus. I also love the idea of making Meal Share Canada a part of the dining experience, and partnering with the many restaurants who give back with every meal purchased.
My dear friend (and Chrissy Tiegen lookalike) Stephanie from Global Dish is a certified beer nerd and always knows the best new breweries to check out –(and Calgary you have a lot).
If hosting is your thing, but cooking is not – Our Daily Brett has just launched Salon Catering – why not leave the food to the experts and put your energy into a gorgeous table setting (hello, Pinterest to the rescue).
Sunday Suppers is a new find and is full of the most beautiful curated supper ideas I have ever seen. They host Global Dinners all over the world in select cities. I hope to attend a supper one day!
There’s also some great websites and Instagram accounts dedicated to the ‘best of’ in your respective city, which makes choosing and planning that much easier.
To Cheyanne, Kristin and Sarah – thanks for an amazing ten years of good food, conversation, laughs, and friendship. Here’s to the next twenty!
Below is some dining inspiration as you start to consider a regular meal with friends, family, or your special date nights.
@cardinaleyyc (where we shot our Entertain column for Issue 9)