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Behind the Scenes with the Syrian Supper Club

Delicious food, unique venues, and an inspiring aim.. Syrian Supper Club is one of our all-time favourite supper clubs so it’s about time that we put them in the limelight and found out a little more about their story!

What started as a supper at the kitchen table of a London home has grown to 75 dinners, 2500 guests and whole host of locations around the world, from Singapore to Washington D.C. But, we’ll start right at the beginning…

 

First things first… we’d love to hear a little more about the inspiration for the supper club and how it was first set up?

The Syrian Supper Club came to life in July 2012; three of us, (Louisa, Rose and Johnnie) all sharing a profound sense of sadness at the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria, decided to do something to remind our friends in Syria that they had not been forgotten. So we held a Syrian inspired feast at our kitchen table to raise some money and like the greenest of raw almonds The Syrian Supper Club was born. Our fourth founder, George, found his way to a Syrian Supper early on, and liked it so much he never left.

The roots of this story go further back, to a house in the old city of Damascus, by Bab Salaam where Louisa and Rose were lucky enough to live for a while. The Syrian Supper Club is inspired by our time there, the people we met and the food we ate.

Three and a half years later, and five years into the crisis, Syrian Suppers now happen all over the world; everywhere from Singapore to Washington DC and Beirut. Our Syrian Suppers pop up on the first Wednesday of every month; although we have made the move from our much loved kitchen table to the wonderful E5 Bakehouse in London Fields.

Syrian Supper Club
So, why did you choose supper clubs as a way to raise funds?

Oh so many reasons… Partly because we love food and cooking and partly because the London supper club wave was rising, so we jumped on board! Food and sharing it is something that is entirely ingrained in Syrian culture so it seemed the perfect way to join the two elements of raising money and reminding people of some of the very good things that Syria has and knows; its food, its culture, particularly given that the Syria seen through the news paints such a bleak picture. Supper clubs are a simple, tangible ways of doing this, not to mention easily replicated and fun. There is nothing we like more than gathering a group of people around a table and if that gathering can also be of benefit to people suffering then it is a no brainer.

And, do you have a favourite dish?

Too many to quote, but we do love Halloumi fritters with saffron and honey, there is also a delicious Chard dish with pine nuts, juicy currants and shallots and a particularly good Almond and garlic soup served cold – which is just the thing to start a summer evening with.

Syrian Supper Club

…mmm halloumi fritters.

Do you have any moments from events that have made you particularly proud?

One couple arrived from Canada, telling us that they had planned their holiday around coming to a Syrian Supper – which was jaw-droppingly nice to hear. Mostly we feel excited that people want to come and keep coming, and that they get the premise behind the Syrian Supper Club; by doing something as simple as going out to dinner and sharing food you have the power to change someone’s life or perhaps even save it – which is a pretty wonderful thing.

Any exciting plans for the future of the supper club?

Oh yes; we want Syrian Suppers to take over the world – in a non-megalomaniac way we promise – but we do want more and more people to take up the mantle and hold their own Syrian Suppers, encouraging their friends to do the same. The more who do, the more we can raise money and awareness for people who really are in desperate need. We also have some exciting ideas for our own monthly suppers, but couldn’t possible let these out of the bag before they’re fully formed and ready for action, although we can tell you that they’ll be fun!

Syrian Supper Club

….Aaand lastly, do you have advice for those who’d like to set up their own fundraising events?

The beauty of the Syrian Supper Club is its inclusivity, anyone can hold a supper. We’re very flexible in terms the how’s, where’s and who’s, so people can hold a banquet for 50 or a kitchen supper for 6. Creativity is crucial and this is in decoration as much as food, for us a cocktail to start, with middle-eastern flavours is always a good beginning, but that’s just how we do it. Definitely get friends to help – this is vital and lastly just enjoy it and don’t worry too much. There’s also a toolkit on our website as a starter for ten.

All money raised at Syrian Supper Clubs goes to the Hands Up Foundation’s aid projects in and around Syria.

Book their next event HERE.

Published in Interviews

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