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secret-suppers

I was 8 years old when I hosted my first dinner party. I invited my best friend, Caryn, and her sister over for dinner (on a school night, even!), and my mom and I slaved away making chili and homemade brownies. In the end it was not so much about the food—we had to order in pizza because the chili turned out to be too spicy for our childish palates—but more about the thrill of having people over. I still love a rousing dinner party, and so I was intrigued to learn about a trend making the rounds from London to Lima: underground supper clubs. These clubs—some call them guerrilla restaurants—usually meet in people’s homes, where cooking enthusiasts prepare and serve dinner to strangers in exchange for a small monetary contribution toward the meal. In Cuba, these meals are called paladares and have been a cottage industry for decades. In the United States they’ve become popular over the past few years, with clubs like California’s Ghetto Gourmet—started by foodie Jeremy Townsend—spawning chapters in New York and Chicago after he took it on tour around the country. This summer the trend has taken off like viral wildfire across Europe; Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine recently dubbed these places “21st-century speakeasies with foie gras instead of bootleg brandy.” Read more