The kitchen at Refettorio Felix was busy.
With a dining space for 50 paying guests and 48 hours to decide a menu based on the surplus content of a donation van, we had our work cut out.
We were running our second supper club at Refettorio Felix. The space lends itself to these kinds of evenings, with beautiful decor and natural light. It’s a hidden gem of a venue that doesn’t need much dressing to host an intimate supper club.
The motive behind the evening was to support Refettorio Felix in helping the local community of Kensington and Chelsea, and more specifically those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. While Kensington and Chelsea is the wealthiest and most densely populated borough in Britain, one in seven families in the borough are homeless or live in temporary accommodation. In a time of austerity, and with desperate need for Centres like the Refettorio, funding to run these essential services is increasingly thin on the ground.
The team at Refettorio Felix provide healthy food for lunch every weekday, in a beautiful space, and access to much needed services from mental health support to showers and washing machines. They also do their bit for the environment – creating meals from edible food destined for landfill.
So, what better way to support them than by utilising the beautiful space, using more waste food and raising some money at the same time?
Running a fundraiser of this kind comes with its own set of challenges, namely that none of my kitchen team had ever worked in a professional kitchen, or indeed ever run an event of this sort. With the backing of the team at Refettorio Felix we felt supported every step of the way.
Creating an exciting menu while making the most of the surplus produce was mildly terrifying, but thanks to a host of cookbooks, an experimental cookery style and blind enthusiasm we were able to feed a room full of hungry guests and raise the funds Refettorio Felix so desperately needs.
Ensuring that the supper clubs are cost neutral is really important. So we stroveto use as much as we could from the pantry, supplemented by our own donations of any additional supplies. On top of that, we secured a wine partner for each event (thank you to Jeroboams, Barworks Ltd. and Enotria&Coe for their kind donations so far!) and allowed guests to bring additional drinks to ensure a jovial atmosphere!
We ran our first supper in June, serving up a three-course meal for 35 people. Since then we have grown in size with our second club that took place in September, ambitiously catering for 50 guests.
Tickets for our third attempt, the December Christmas edition, have been on sale for a week and as we speak we have only five tickets left.
They say doing good feels good, and I can honestly say, even after a good seven hours in the kitchen by the end of each supper club, it really does.