Find a Supper Club

Find out where and when is your local underground restaurant/pop up/supper club

Do you think people should be paid for their work?

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.


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Comment by jayne okacha on March 7, 2011 at 18:42
this behaviour is of concern and should not be encouraged.
Comment by msmarmitelover on March 7, 2011 at 16:27

Jo Lynn, in all honesty I don't think there was any miscommunication. I've never been accused of not communicating clearly, in fact more the opposite! No I genuinely think they were at first prepared to pay then someone at her agency decided 'hey lets just grab it all for free rather than pay'. And when I say I found her behaviour shifty, that was my gut instinct at work: she was not being up front with me, negotiating behind my back rather than being transparent. I'd love to have a chat with you.

Dancing Trousers: I'm not put off at all but I'm dismayed at the unscupulous behaviour of this brand. I've never heard so much spinning and obfuscation in my life. In fact 99% of all PRs and marketing people are delightful and honest. Lovely to see you here x

TSTP: I could certainly do with some admin help, lets be in touch Miss Sue Flay




Comment by The Secluded Tea Party on March 7, 2011 at 15:25

Kerstin...I certainly agree, having worked with sponsorships on local radio stations in previous years, that you should always go with a brand or a company that you would feel comfirtable and proud working with.

You obviously have reservations with these guys (And I wouldn't blame you...this is all seemingly very unprofessional).

If it wasn't for you and Lynn, I wouldn't still be doing my thing here in sunny Cambridge! And I LOVE telling people all about you both...word of mouth is a powerful tool!...and every time I tell somebody knew about your ideas and events...and the same with Lynn being a fellow Tea party hostess, they go to see you both through this website and I think it's important that it keeps going!

The new look is fantastic, very stylish, and easier on the eye!

I would like you to know that if you ever need somebody to help you with the admin...Let me know! I would LOVE to help out where I can! Miss Sue Flay xx

Comment by Dancing Trousers Cookery School on March 7, 2011 at 13:23
Firstly thank you Lynn and Kerstin for all the work you do, this is a fabulous and friendly site to be part of.  Before I had my mid life foodie reinvention I worked in commercial radio and specialised in sponsorship and promotions.  They can be wonderful if they are handled properly.  It seems that the person representing Cordoniu hasn't tackled this one very well.  A good sponsorship deal can and should benefit both parties so don't be put off forever.
Comment by jo lynn on March 7, 2011 at 11:53
I am a foodie, have a food science qualification, love to cook for my friends and have a genuine interest in anything to do with good food and drink.  I am also a PR (I am jo lynn of jo lynn consultancy, the PR yogi). The experience you describe is a classic situation where you were probably dealing with a young girl in an agency who was not a decision maker.  Yes PR's can be cunning and difficult but they can also help you.  It is not in Cordoniu's interest to alienate you - but I think your negotiations appear to have failed because of misunderstandings on both sides.  Both sides need to benefit.  There is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol with food - but as you say, you need to organise a voucher deal or money off at point of purchase deal, so that you stay legal.  As for the agency making false claims, you really need to advise them very strongly that they can't get away with that and that you will take action if they persist.  If you want some advice on this kind of thing, do get in touch - I don't live far away from Miss Marmite and would be happy to give you a free chat - for the cause!
Comment by msmarmitelover on March 6, 2011 at 23:18
"I'd like to see them be a valuable resource and not expect anything in return." Thanks Pooja, I think you've nailed it there.
Comment by Pooja Vir on March 6, 2011 at 19:34
There is no question work should be rewarded - payment (in cash or kind)  is a no brainer. Cordoniu sounds like one of the many spinelss agencies that we come across in the industry. I'd like to see them be a valuable resource and not expect anything in return.
Comment by msmarmitelover on March 6, 2011 at 17:29

Thanks so much for your supportive comments. The PR in question has got back to me saying she knew all about all these tiny supper clubs before she looked at my site. Ridiculous lies. I met her at Pataks brand 'supper club' and she was talking about how great my site was and how useful it had been. 

Behaviour like Cordonius, full of falsehood and spin, really depresses me. It makes you want to give up. A ruthless brand  grabbing what they want.

Comment by Floating Diners on March 6, 2011 at 15:59

Hi Kerstin,

I think you and Lynn do a fantastic job and I am very gratefull to you both. I realise all the hard work you put in and it must be your judgement as to what sponsorship you accept. I think all the members would agree you run a fantastic site that we all benefit from so we must abide by your rules!


Comment by The Spice Club on March 6, 2011 at 15:51
This website has formed a wonderful online community that brings together supper club hosts and goers. You do a great job of running it and I personally wouldn't mind if advertising was featured on the site or contributing towards the upkeep of the site.

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