The rise of the supper club heralds a new dawn for British cuisine.

Master chefs


The rise of the supper club heralds a new dawn for British cuisine, as enthusiasts enjoy the space to experiment with modern twists on classic dishes

The rise of the supper club heralds a new dawn for British cuisine

We were once a nation scorned for the dullness of our dining habits, thanks to our penchant in the past for boiled meats and overcooked vegetables. But no more. The British food scene now overflows with creativity and flair, demonstrated by everyone from producers and suppliers to chefs and restaurateurs. One of the best ways to experience for yourself what’s new, interesting and most delicious is to book a ticket for a supper club

Billy Wright and Jack Layer are regulars on London’s supper-club scene. The pair met on the television programme Masterchef and made it right through to the final, but when they didn’t win, decided to join forces to keep on cooking.

I join them at M Moen & Sons in Clapham, one of the best butchers in London, as they carry out a practice run for their next, rather unusual, supper club. They’ve plugged an Audi Electric Cool Bag into the power socket in the luggage compartment of an RS 3, ready to chill the chicken they’re buying. The Cool Bag’s 12-litre capacity is ample for the trial run, but for the real event, the plan is to make chicken Wellington to serve at the 24-hour marathon they’re hosting to raise money for Cancer Research UK. They’ll be feeding 400 hungry people between 11am one day and 11am the next.

The rise of the supper club heralds a new dawn for British cuisine

The rise of the supper club heralds a new dawn for British cuisine

The duo represents what’s so entrepreneurial and fun about the supper-club scene, which started out as an antidote to expensive, stuffy fine dining. ‘At a supper club, you’re sitting at a table with other diners you’ve never met before, in an out-of-the-ordinary venue – maybe in someone’s flat – so it’s much more of an “experience” than eating in a restaurant,’ says Billy. ‘And people really like that community feel.’

So far, they’ve hosted supper clubs in their homes, in restaurants and even on the roof of the Southbank Centre. Indeed, it’s the quirkiness of each location that’s another reason why nights like these are enduringly popular.

‘Lots of supper clubs are hosted by people who are cooking their family recipes,’ adds Jack. ‘There’s a really good chance you’ll get to try something you might not be able to order elsewhere, and that’s the exciting thing about them. They’re good for chefs too, because you can serve great food without having to have a restaurant – it’s the ideal opportunity to try out new things.’

The rise of the supper club heralds a new dawn for British cuisine

The rise of the supper club heralds a new dawn for British cuisine

Billy and Jack are known for straight-down-the-line seasonal British food. ‘We like cooking the stuff we grew up eating and reinventing the classics,’ explains Jack, the chicken Wellington being an example of the twist they give to native stalwarts. ‘But most of all we try to make food we know people will enjoy. It needs to be delicious every time – there’s no point otherwise.’

Naturally, there are no soggy cabbage and limp slices of meat here. Instead, perfectly seasoned, bacon-wrapped, cream-cheese-filled chicken couched in crisp pastry lined with a herby mushroom duxelle, a dab of mustard on the side – magical food made by two names to conjure with.


Words by Johanna Derry. Photographs by Juan Trujillo Andrades

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