Story by Uyen Luu
The first question I get asked is what-made-you-start-a-supper-club? I did it out of the love to feed people. I have always loved cooking, I have always loved having people around for dinner. It so happens that I also love watching cooking shows like the rest of us and have grown up cooking and watching my idol, Jamie Oliver. It was just equally an ambition of mine to have a restaurant so I opened up my flat and created a supper club and came with a happy medium. I had always wanted to meet and to work with/ support Jamie Oliver so when I was asked by Danny McCubbin, the Web Editor of JamieOliver.com to run a charity supper club in one of Jamie's private test kitchen, I said, hell yes!
We invited my friends – fellow food bloggers and great cooks, Luiz, The London Foodie, May, Slow Food Kitchen & Mimi, Meemalee's Kitchen to join in with the other courses. The theme being each making a course from where they come from, thus creating an Asian (Japanese, Malay, Burmese & Vietnamese) menu for the supper club just above the famous, Fifteen in Old Street. We met. Within half an hour, we got a name together, “Grazing Asia” and May was on top of the whole process, got us a twitter account, a domain name, a new blog and so on. The band was formed. And together, the buzz around @grazingasia went from a blink into a whole fireworks display on Twitter – a mini big bang!
I think we had one of those memorable and amazing days that we will never forget and we will talk about it for years to come. Here is the menu:
Seared Tuna with Yuzu Ponzu & Sesame Dressing
By The London Foodie
Spicy Burmese Fishball Salad aka Nga-pÃ¨ Thoh(k)
By Meemalee's Kitchen
Baked Crispy Pork Belly with Banh Cuon, Pickled and Fried Shallots with Vietnamese Cured Ham, Thai Basil and Coriander
Malaysian Curry Laksa
By Slow Food Kitchen
Green Tea Panna Cotta with Summer Berries
By Dean the Head Pastry Chef at Fifteen London
It was great to work with Joe Gray (Fifteen graduate, 2005), who gave me some tips on roasting pork belly which for me can sometimes be a hit and miss; and Jai & Emma – current Fifteen apprentices who were so happy to help us in every way. Joe was somehow a silent leader of the team, there being 4 of us as chefs. He directed and guided us on logistics of cooking and service. Really look forward to his cooking classes and working together with him in the future. Compared to what I am normally used to (doing everything by self), working here was like a dream. You had everything available to you including professional assistants to waiter(esse)s. Awesome!
We had such fun working together – what a great day it was! I had never eaten Mimi nor May's food before – I can finally vouch that they know what they are talking about and they are great cooks. As for Luiz, he is a feeder, I often eat at his house and he is one of my favourite cooks, I always know that if Luiz is cooking, its going to be good. All our guests were also very excited about being in Jamie's test kitchen just as much as we were. We raised about Â£1200 for Fifteen. Thank you so much for those who attended and donated.
Thank you to all our food sponsors us with ingredients and Wai Yee Hong for supplying some crockery including chopsticks (they don't really have chopsticks at Fifteen : ))
Paul (wonderful photographer)
Richard (great tuna)
Our good friends at Naked Wines for supplying the wine
Joe from Wai Yee Hong for veg and herbs and utensils
The lovely people from Eurofrutta for the herb andveg
Thank you to my wonderful team and most of all thank you to Danny McCubbin for believing in us and for letting us use the space. Hopefully we left it perfect for Jamie to use the next day. Emma – his apprentice from the food team puts it, “he's gonna know you've been here and moved all of his stuff around. He's gonna say, whats happened to my shit?”
Thanks Jamie, for your kitchen, its beautiful! Hope we put everything back in the right place.
About the author: Uyen Luu is a prominent London food blogger and writer. Uyen cooks wonderful Vietnamese food – she also runs Supper Clubs and cooking classes. For more information.
Editor's note: The Supper Club raised Â£1,290 for this year's New York marathon runners who are raising money for Fifteen London