This site has been going in one form or another for two years. Since the beginning I've not only promoted my supper club but the entire 'sector'. I believe supper clubs are a new movement in food: promoting home cooking, community, cooking from scratch and highlighting women's cookery skills in particular. So I've sought to build a community.
This site costs money and it's maintenance is time consuming. I am helped in this by Lynn, Secret Tea Room, when I am too busy.
We work for free, we charge no one here. It's become the go to point for anyone wanting to know about supper clubs in the UK and we have also spent years building up the 'Supper clubs by location' tab.
This site has been mentioned in The Guardian twice in recent weeks and will have several pages of my forthcoming book 'Supper clubs: recipes and notes from The Underground Restaurant' devoted ot it. This will further build interest in this site and the sector in general.
Of late I have been thinking about getting some subtle sponsorship of this site, to pay for improvements and moderation.
I was approached by Sarah Belizaire Butler of Clarion Communications who is promoting Cordoniu. Cordoniu are spending considerable money on sponsoring the Olly Smith programme 'Secret Supper Clubs' on Channel 4. *
They wanted to sponsor this site and in return for run competitions, promote their product and have their badge on the banner. I was approaching this carefully, wanting to make sure for instance that if Cordoniu lost interest in supper clubs, I would continue to own the site. At the same time my gut instinct felt... uncomfortable; somehow I found Sarah's behaviour (on behalf of her brand) to be strangely pushy 'hurry hurry' but at the same time not exactly straightfoward. Suddenly after months of negotiation, they withdrew all offers of sponsorship, at the same time asking if they could use extracts from my book (for free) on their site and link to my site (for free) in order to give the impression that Cordoniu are associated with us.
Yesterday I discovered one supper club on here was promoting their product directly through his menu with a link to Cordoniu's site. I asked this member if he'd been approached by Cordoniu directly, he said yes.
So basically Cordoniu is trying to advertise their product through this site but not paying me. They found all the supper clubs via this site.
I think that's pretty underhand and unfair behaviour.
There are other issues:
1) People without personal and premises alcohol licenses are NOT allowed to give complimentary alcohol at their dinners. Yes, you read that right. I was contacted by licensing regarding this. There is plenty of case law against us. If you give a drink (especially if you advertise it) while charging for food, they will have deemed you to be charging for the alcohol, which is illegal. So Cordoniu are encouraging illegal activity. It's a very blurry line. Tastings are fine, but I imagine this is with the presence of a representative from the alcohol firm and that prices have in no way risen for the food.
2) The terms and conditions of being a member of this site request that you do not use this site to advertise.
Lynn and I do this for free. We are still seeking sponsorship to improve the site.
So... do you think people should be paid for their work?
Again, I don't think much of this programme, it's yet another fake set up for TV, pseudo supper club, run by conventional restaurants and cafes. Olly Smith is in no way connected with this movement either.
So a fake programme sponsored by fake champagne.
Add a Comment