I am taking my love of gatherings to our blog, a series of interviews with fantastic hosts, to share inspirations and insights around the art of gatherings. I am starting my series with Pratap and Nikhat, founders of That Hungry Chef.
I first met Pratap and Nikhat, founders of That Hungry Chef, last month and we discussed gatherings and the importance and enjoyment found in getting people together round the table. Pratap is a Michelin-trained fine dining chef who has worked in some of the most renowned kitchens in London and Nikhat, his wife, combines her creative and hostess talents for their supper club. They grew up in houses that had dinner parties, especially Nikhat whose mother in Delhi would host many, many dinner parties.
Our chat went back to basics, that coming together, and breaking bread together is a world-wide need of all humanity; that a gathering with friends offers an escape from the daily grind of life.
What makes a great gathering?
You must want to do it. Your guests will smell a phoney!
Ensure your guests don’t feel alone.
They see the whole dining experience as fully sensory, with music, mood and the decorative elements all playing a key part. Perhaps this links neatly to their personal love of London theatre. Indeed, in his Gastro Physic book Prof Charles Spence has written that we taste food according to the context and the “off the plate” elements does affect our eating experience.
A beautiful “tablescape” sets the tone; makes guests feel more special and brings out their social side. The intricate table details and fun extras encourages people to put aside phones and focus on conversation. It helps create interaction across the table to the extent that life-long friends have been made at their Supper Clubs.
Are there changing trends in dining?
The Supper Club is growing in a multi-cultural city such as London as it makes a change from an ordinary restaurant where you are largely stuck on a table by yourself. The Supper Club allows you to take a chance and meet new people and elevate a meal-out to a new social dimension. Living in the era of Instagram then we all want a special snap of a special dining toom table to post and share.
Your Dream Guests
Nikhat – I would love to invite a table of strong women, such as Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart.
Pratap – Inspiring authors such as Salmon Rushdie, JR Tolkien and Lewis Carol. This would be quite a dinner!
As a student of English literature, Pratap uses literature as a source of inspiration for the Supper Clubs; two being Midsummer Night dream and Alice in Wonderland. With Nikhat they use the detailed texts as a source of inspiration for both the tablescape and finely considered menus.
I had the pleasure of joining That Hungry Chef’s supper club last week. The evening was themed around A Midsummer Night’s Dream and each course was based on different scenes of the play.
If you are interested in finding out more, or attending their supper club, I highly recommend a visit to their website.
I look forward to sharing my next interview with you soon.
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