Hampshire residents, listen up; Winchester’s new supper club is here!
Set up by Masterchef 2017 quarter-finalist Alex Parker, Club Epicure aims to bring local foodies together in a relaxing environment to enjoy fine home-cooked food, using locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible.
As a big foodie myself (but a pretty reluctant cook) I wanted to learn more about Alex and why he and his partner chose to set out on this venture.
Here’s what he had to say…
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I currently live in Winchester with my partner, Hatty. I grew up in London, went to University of Southampton, did some years in Perth, Australia, and now reside in leafy Hampshire. I work as an engineer in the day, and mostly cook at all other times.
How did you get into cooking?
Cooking became an interest of mine when I returned from Australia a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve gone from meat and two veg to more and more elaborate dishes, inspired by a rapidly growing collection of cookery books. It’s not all soufflés, emulsions and purees though – I love a one pot wonder (although I don’t cook them enough, according to Hatty).
Why did you decide to set up your own supper club?
The idea for Club Epicure stemmed mainly from my desire to cook for more people, and Hatty wanting to exercise her creative and marketing skills outside of work. Hence, our supper club project began!
Supper clubs are huge in London, but in other cities the concept has barely taken off. In the age of Instagram, communication between fellow foodies is easier than ever – it seemed like a no brainer to at least give it a go.
So what can we expect from a night with Club Epicure?
We will aim to serve four courses throughout the evening for ten guests, with a few surprises thrown in along the way. The emphasis is on flavour, season and locality – in that order. I want people to experience foods that they might not normally have the confidence to try in a restaurant, for example seaweed, gochujang and tahini. If our guests have any favourite foods then we ask them to let us know, so we can possibly try to tailor our menu accordingly!
What do you hope to achieve?
We want the guests at our evenings to be as comfortable as possible, like they’re our friends, rather than ‘punters’ in a restaurant. The inimitable A.A.Gill once said, “If the food is the star of the dinner party, then it’s a bad dinner party”. As much as these evenings will be about trying and enjoying my food, we want our guests to leave having enjoyed the whole experience.
And finally, describe to us your perfect meal…
That’s a tricky one. I like all food – and my tastes change weekly! I’m a huge fan of fish, so possibly oysters to start and turbot, or a very well made bowl of Ramen for main. Dessert would be something creamy, like a custard tart, ideally followed by some smelly cheese!
To read more about Club Epicure, book tickets for their upcoming events and enquire about private parties, visit www.clubepicure.uk.
Next supper club events:
Sunday 15th October
Thursday 19th October