There has been a rise in the number of pop-up supper clubs across Falmouth where people are trading in their nights out for a slow-paced evening sharing delicious food.
Perhaps the sea-side town is catering to the growing experience economy, where today’s generation are changing their priorities and going on fewer nights out.
“I’m really romantic about it.
I like communal eating that’s kind of counter-British in a certain way, where you put strangers together on the same table”, coffee-roaster Jessie Dodkins revealed.
He’s just started running his own regular supper clubs at The Ope cafe under the name ‘Season’d’, with an evening dedicated to Vietnamese steamed BAO buns and another centering around Italian stuffed pasta.
This coffee guy takes up cooking as a hobby on the side and runs these events to build a brand and audience, in order to fulfil a dream of setting up his own restaurant.
“It may be a bit cliche but there’s a saying ‘if you want to be great, stop asking for permission’”.
The chef emphasised his respect for similar pop-ups like Sohn Kitchen which shows people following an idea through to the end result despite having no formal training. He suggested that he has only been able to create his pop-ups because of his attitude and teaching himself from books and YouTube.
“There are people more qualified than me, with more experience but they’re not doing it,” Dodkins told Truthfal.
Sohn is a pop-up Asian restaurant which serves Korean food on Fridays and freshly made noodles on Sundays at The Ope or Stones Bakery.
Hoon Kim of the eatery told Truthfal about how he’s had two years training at The Star and Garter pub in Falmouth, similarly to Dodkins who also is not traditionally qualified.
“It’d be great to see them react to the kind of movements that you see in London, where very niche and authentic, regional cuisines rock it”.
The Director of the shop, Sam Kin Man Chu, emphasised how his products shift away from a ‘Western Asian culture’. They instead source authentic products from eight different suppliers in order to change Western assumptions around Eastern food culture. This has seen Britons labeling products or dishes Asian if they taste ‘different enough’ like Wagamamas restaurant, according to Chu.
Chinese herbs for soups, vegetarian dumplings and ramen noodles are three of the most popular stocked products and can be found in a regular Hong Kong supermarket
The ability to bring in ‘small bits of culture’ and not overwhelm the customer is a feature which pop-up events like Sohn and Asia Delights very own ‘A Night With Asia Delights’ string of Asian dinners enjoy, Chu revealed. They are gradually diversifying the culinary scene in Falmouth which is more manageable for the British palette.
“It might be 80% Westerner and you go slowly step by step to the original flavour so that you won’t overwhelm the customers. I think it’s a cool way to bring in a culture slowly”.
His different themed Asian dinners at Cafe Strand immerse customers in Asian etiquette, such as waiting for their elders to lift their cutlery before eating in Korea.
Dodkins similarly wants to change expectations by labelling his offerings at The Ope as ‘plant-based’ to soften the idea of veganism which seems ‘political and overly moralistic’.
By doing so, he suggests events like this contain a ‘low-key advocacy’ which puts Falmouth at the centre of culinary experimentation which might make people more accepting and bring certain diets into the mainstream.
“People can barbecue and eat Fennel like a chicken wing, that’s as primitive as meat I feel”.
Dodkins claimed that it’s easy to start this diet and begins with changing our perspective on eating, which doesn’t seek vegetarian replicas of meat.
Pop up events reflect the relationship between food and the environment and that’s why somewhere like Falmouth is doing so well for them, said Jesse.
“Although I think young people are really starting to grow a massive interest in food which I think is really related to the environment, I also think that interest in food is more acted in going for a sort of cheap brunch”.
Hoon Kim of Sohn acknowledged a ‘growing awareness’ of young people and pop-ups. He expressed an interest in diversifying by mentioning the idea of doing a Korean fried chicken event in Redruth.
Dodkins hopes to similarly appeal to this younger, student population he is working on serving bar food and drinks at the cafe where the customers won’t have to be ‘bounded’ to a long night of eating.
Learn more about supper clubs and how the town’s own pop-ups are boosting its culinary scene:
Jesse’s top YouTube food channels for new and inquisitive cooks:
- FOODTUBE– “We all grew up on Jamie Oliver and he’s kind of realised that which is why he’s created a space for our generation. Anything he puts out is really good to learn”.
- Chef Steps– “For nerdy cooking, if you like working out ratios and you like processing stuff”.
- Pasta Grannies– “These are grannies using ancient recipes and teaching pasta making!”
- Alex French Guy Cooking– “He’s great at teaching problem-solving and creative problem solving”.