What is the Ted and Amy Supper Club?
Ted and Amy Supper Club started in 2008. Since then I have served dinner to a couple hundred friends and strangers out of my apartment. I’m not a trained chef, but I consider myself a decent home cook. And I love bringing together people, especially around food. Cooking at home isn’t something a lot of NYC dwellers do, but it makes so much sense- it can be more affordable, sustainable, and healthy. (Just ask supper club guest chef Cathy Erway, she knows!) Ted and Amy’s definitely is a good alternative to eating out.
I usually host several dinners a month and post the menus up on the site (and out to the mailing list.) People RSVP and then I pull together a group of 10-14 to dine with me and my co-chef or host. The co-chefs are often food bloggers, cookbook authors and foodie friends. Most of the guests who show up are people I’ve never met before, and most of them are local Brooklynites. It’s great to see what happens when a bunch of strangers sit around a table, drink a lot of wine, and share a meal. Guests have forged friendships, networked for jobs, and even sparked some romance.
Starting in March of 2011, Supper Club expanded to host classes, private events/dinners, and even more dinners, featuring guest chefs.
Besides having a good time and promoting merrymaking, my mission at Ted and Amy’s is to show people how easy cooking and entertaining at home can be, and hopefully encourage people to cook at home, too. I do this through the open kitchen dinners, and the newly started classes. Not only can cooking and eating at home be more affordable and healthy than eating out (or eating something that came out of a box), it’s a great way to build strong families, support good eating habits in children, and carry on family traditions. Even one step further, cooking can be a gateway to a broader political and environmental consciousness. As Mark Bittman said recently:
“..if you cook, you think about what goes into your mouth; you shop more carefully; you begin to think about where the food you’re shopping for came from, and how it was produced; you begin to think about what you’re throwing out, and how you might use it instead of waste it; and so on.”
It’s true. It happened to me. And I think a raised collective consciousness could really lead to better government food policies and personal behavior change that can in turn, lead to a healthier individuals (and lower health care costs) and a more sustainable food system.
When I started the Supper Club a few years back with a friend, we both really loved to cook for for our friends, but couldn’t afford to be cooking with the ingredients we wanted. So our friends encouraged us to charge them for dinner. Soon after, Ted & Amy Supper Club was born! The name was chosen to honor two great local cooks… Ted Allen and Amy Sedaris. Ted lives in the neighborhood, so we were was hoping if we named a club after him, maybe he’d stop by. Turns out that a few days after the first dinner, I ran into Ted on the street. I told him about the club, and he didn’t seem too creeped out that he was the namesake of a supper club. Ted was actually pretty excited about it! Anyways, we hope one day he’ll be neighborly and pop on in. (and Amy, you’re invited too!)
I’m Kara, the host of Ted and Amy’s. I’m a 30-something New Yorker, living in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I make websites, hot dogs, and dinner parties. I tweet a lot about food policy and food. And I write about entertaining as a contributor on NY Times’ The Local blog, in the Edible Brooklyn Cookbook, and as a freelancer for Conde Nast and The Daily Meal.
By day I work at an amazing firm, Fenton, running their digital campaigns. We work almost exclusively with progressive non-profit organizations that are working to improve the world (they’re pretty incredible.) And I get to create a lot of their websites. I work with a super smart team of designers, digital strategists, writers and developers to make it happen. It’s a good gig.
Outside of work, I run Ted and Amy Supper Club and The Great Hot Dog Cookoff. If you haven’t checked out the Cookoff, please do. It’s the premier weiner themed event in NY, and we’ve raised over $25,000 for local charities through this annual culinary competition. (For more on my involvement in the hot dog cookoff, read last year’s profile on Serious Eats.)