That picture pretty much sums up how I felt a good whole year ago. When hours before the first supperclub, I went into pure crystal clear panic overdrive, cursed profusely and wondered why the hell i decided to do this in the first place.
So now one year later, maybe its just me (or my ability to finally understand twitter) but there seems to be a new supperclub popping up every other week. And bizarrely (and this is definitely probably just me), but most of them seem to be asia/ non-European-centric and set up by people generally annoyed by how their nation’s food is represented/ watered down/ Anglo-fied in London. And we think this is pretty darn special.
And having given pointers, helped, advised and given one or two peeps a leg-up and a hindering/helping hand at getting their supperclub started, we dont profess to be experts and pioneers of this whole Asian supperclub movement but we figured why not share some secrets/ tips/ rants/ whines/ grumbles we’ve learnt along the way.
So you dont have to make the same dumba$$ mistakes we went through.
And so you dont have to be that spongebob at the top but instead you can be bi-winning:
Also, plusixfive probably will not be around very much longer so we figured its probably time to hand over the Matrix of Supperclub Truth and Leadership to all you RodimusPrimes [bonus points if you got this 80s pop culture reference].
(1) Why do you wanna do one?
If you are doing it solely bcause you wanna make a heck of a lotta money from this. Then stop reading. You might as well go into amateur p0orn.
Firstly, unless you have your own farm and rear your own poultry/cattle, chances are you are probably going to go to Tescos to get your groceries and already you have lost on the margins there as you are not getting your produce direct from source.
Then take into account the amount of time, energy, hardwork that goes into one and all that time spent prepping and cooking (unless your supperclub is a weird raw food one which requires no prep/cooking…), the time spent cleaning up and washing up, the broken plates and cups (u will inevitably get at least one dumba$$ clumsy drunk guest), scratched up pots and pans, overworked dishwashers… AND last minute cancellations… Its simply not worth the money really.
(2) Think of an novel idea/ concept.
What is it you trying to set out to showcase? plusixfive largely happened cos i was generally annoyed at how everyone knew what Malaysians, Thais, Indonesians, Vietnamese eat… but no one knew what the hell Singaporeans eat and think we stuff our faces everyday with that glorious luminously yellow Singapore Fried Noodles. (NO!)
So go think of an interesting novel concept and cuisine that you are so bada$$ passionate about and that you actually gotta gotta gotta the skillz, the skillz, “what skillz” to pay the billz to cook it. I think its a fair assumption to think that people coming to a supperclub are generally coming cos they actually wanna eat reasonably good food.
Think of a concept or cuisine that also isnt done to death. I think theres a gazillion supperclubs out there touting themselves as English supperclubs. So think of how you can differentiate yourself from them. I dunno, cook victorian english food or something. Or have a theme. Or be the supperclub that cooks the fat duck cook book (hmmm…. you heard it here first).
Don’t just be the next “English supperclub serving up fresh seasonal English produce”.
(3) Go to a well reviewed well respected supperclub.
Just to generally see how its run. But go to one which people have at least talked about or there is some buzz about. Dont go to some lamea$$ one no one has heard of. Chances are its run by a psycho who serves up mystery meat and no one will ever hear from you again.
The best is if you can get them to agree to letting you help out (by twisting their arm, bribe, pay, beg, showbigbambieyes, flash body parts, do whatever needs be cos this is the best experience), so you really get into the thick of it and see how its all run operationally. Its no loss really and win-win for all. You probably get to eat the food, interact with guests and generally have a rocking good time.
If you dont get to eat any food, he/she’s a stingy busturd and you should spread vicious rumours about their supperclub.
FYI, plusixfive is generally always in need of a good pair of healthy non-clumsy drunken hands so buzz if you want a look-see at how we do our shiitz round here. Flashing of body parts optional.
And chances are you’ll even get to doggy bag food cos we always bloody over cater food. We’re Singaporean like that.
(4) Think of a catchy name.
Put some thought into it for crying out loud.
(5) Vaguely legal shi1tz.
Yes im boring, risk adverse and chicken shitz like that. If you are renting, best check with your landlord if he minds you doing this. Some landlords couldnt give a hoot. Some will never ever find out or care because they are copiously rich and probably have 800 apartments being rented out. But some might care a lot and use it as an excuse to terminate your lease agreement or whatevs.
So check or read your tenancy agreement. Or get your landlord drunk and get him to sign on the dotted line.
(6) Fix a date.
You can talk and talk about it for ages. But nothings ever gonna happen til you fix a dammn date. So go fix a dammn date for a trial or the first session.
Then figure out how many people your home can fit (DUH.) and how many you can comfortably cook for. You dont wanna stress yourself out for the first one.
Once you have fixed a date and committed to it, invite a whole bunch of friends, foodie types, family, enemies, superheros and villains. If you know mega superduper influential peeps like Giles Coren, President Obama or Nicki Minaj, you probably dont need me to tell you to invite them. Nicki Minaj had 11 million followers on her twitter account, so if she tells the world how good your food was, a population the size of roughly twice the size of Singapore knocking at yo door.
I was stupidly lucky enough to have known some superawesomebeautifulridiculouslyencouragingandloving foodie types, Wen of the edible experience crew (who we’ve worked with since day 1), Jas/Dom, @tehbus, @hollowlegs, @heavenwildfleur, @asernet, @sulineats, @lovelychaos, and had them along for the inaugural one and I am sure they know this but they have been a massive massive help in every shape and way possible. I probably wont be writing this blog today if not for them and every other person who’s supported me and help me spread the word so far. Do not underestimate the power of Greyskull. I mean twitter. And social media in general.
(7) Social Media.
I am not a social media geek or consultant so I dont profess to knowing any of this. But tehbus summed it up when in a rare moment of sobriety and cruel bluntness, he screamed “dude, without twitter, plusixfive would be nothing!!!!!!” (ok i exaggerate a lil)
After crying my eyes out and curling up into a foetal position sucking on my thumb at such brutality (awwww….. hugs for goz, everyone!), I figured, yeah he’s probably right. twitter and all those friends ive made on it really really helped plusixfive out a HUGE bunch. I cannot think of a faster way to get your word out on the street about your new venture and if its good, people WILL talk about it. Its the best word of mouth monster ever. (I guess conversely if its craap, you are so screwed.)
But if you do sign up to twitter, for the love of God, at least try to be interesting.
Yes people come to a supperclub for the food but also for the experience, if you are as boring as paint drying n recite Moby Dick on twitter, no one’s gonna be tempted to coming to your supperclub. plusixfive‘s twitter persona is largely excitable and constantly
perving shouting because goz is mostly a pervert extrovert in real life anyway.
So… thats it for now! Purely because you peeps have the attention span of a spermatoooza! (and I need to think of another 3 tips…)
Next time, we’ll chat about more about schocial schmedia (yeahyeahyeah i can see all y’all social media ultrahipsterati rolling ya rayban eyeballs), pricing, dish planning, timing and the importance of being epichardcorepartyrockering!