How To Start A Cooking Club
When Nick asked if I would guest blog it was kind of like someone asking me if I’d like to trade-in my Honda for a spin in their Lamborghini. YES! Without a doubt, YES! So to say I am honored and excited is very much an understatement.
(Note from Nick: That’s right people. Macheesmo is the sports car of food blogs. Sports car or midlife crisis…)
More than likely you frequent Macheesmo because you enjoy fantastic food and a good laugh. Maybe, like me, you’ve bookmarked a few (hundred) recipes you want to try. Well I’m here to tell you how you can finally get to try all of these recipes without living in your kitchen for the rest of your life and while having a really great time with your friends. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not.
When I moved to Northern Virginia, I really didn’t know many people, so when a friend from college invited me to be a part of a cooking club that was starting up, I was all in. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what a cooking club was, but six years and 75 “meetings” later, we’ve tasted A LOT of recipes, learned a lot about cooking and have become the best of friends.
So, what is this cooking club and how do you start one?
All you need to get started are a few interested cooks. In this post, I’ll outline how we run our club. But remember, these are just to guide you and get you started. As you grow as a group, you’ll figure out what works best for you.
Grab some friends and get cooking!
1. Get Your Members.
Our group is 8 strong (a smaller group would work too, but I don’t suggest any more than 9). Ask a few friends who like to cook, or who want to start cooking, and then ask them to invite a friend and so on. Build a committed, friendly group. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it “fills up”.
2. Select a Host.
If you’re starting it, it’s probably a good idea to host the first one. Then rotate each month until everyone gets a chance to host. The host sets the menu by choosing all the recipes, so everyone will want to host. We have a rolling list to keep track of who is up next.
3. Set a Date.
The host sends out a group email with suggested dates. While it can be difficult, make sure to pick a date that works for everyone. Weeknights usually work well for us, but we have had an occasional cooking club brunch on the weekend.
4. Choose the Menu
The host creates the entire menu. This is your chance to get creative and try out all those recipes you’ve had marked for years, or that you’ve been too scared to make yourself. The menu normally includes an appetizer or two, a main dish, a vegetable, a starch, another side, dessert and sometimes even a cocktail recipe. There’s often a theme or common ingredient. For example, we’ve done things like Italian, Mexican, Superfoods, Chocolate, etc. This last month, I hosted a “Happy Moo Year” cooking club featuring different cheeses in each recipe.
Check out our last menu here! (Some of the recipes were even Macheesmo recipes!)
5. Assign the Dishes
The host then emails out the menu assigning each member a dish to make. The host is always assigned the main dish. Try to be considerate and get the menu out a couple weeks early to leave everyone time to read over their recipe, shop for ingredients and make their dish. In our club we give the host the next month off, meaning they are not assigned a dish the month after they host.
6. Meet and Eat!
On the set date, everyone meets at the host’s house with their prepared dish and sits down to a wonderful meal. We usually end up talking about what we think of each dish. Would we make it again? How would we change it? Was it hard to make? Is it quick? Ok, so in reality, the actual “meeting” is more of an eating club, but who wouldn’t join an eating club?
It’s not only great fun but it’s really an awesome way to get in the kitchen and try things that might be out of your cooking comfort zone. And where else can you design an entire menu, get your friends to cook it and then bring it to your house for you to enjoy?
What are you waiting for? Call some friends and get cooking!
Have questions? Ask it in the comments!