Secret Suppers Come To Dallas

The “secret supper” isn’t a new concept, but until today, I’d never heard of one in Dallas. I’m sure some of you have, you know all about them, and I’m a total idiot. However, if you’re unfamiliar, read this article. The basic idea is, food loving people get together at someones house for dinners made with (many times) local ingredients, as a restaurant alternative. The cost is often low. Sometimes everyone cooks, sometimes one chef is in charge. I don’t think this is technically legal, hence the secret aspect. Which of course makes it more exciting and fun.

If you’d like to know about an upcoming secret supper in Dallas, please continue reading. If you don’t care to know more, please don’t jump.

I just got off the phone with Jordan (feel like I shouldn’t include last name), the man in charge of next week’s Food Creates Community dinner in Richardson. This is the group’s second dinner. Jordan went to El Centro and he also runs a small catering biz. He’s not at all concerned with getting the word out about these dinners, so here’s the skinny: He wants to promote local foods and get similar-minded people together, so he’s started hosting these dinners. Next week’s will be for 30 folks, at his house. It will be Italian themed and focused on locally-sourced food. Italian wines will be served. He will be doing the cooking with the help of two or three people. There will be a cocktail hour (blood orange martinis), followed by salad or soup, a house-made pasta course, a fish with risotto, and gelato for dessert (probably limoncello flavored, made by his friend).

Cost: $30. To RSVP, go here. You can also see pics from the dinner last fall.

26 comments on “Secret Suppers Come To Dallas

  1. Hmmm. At what point does this become a restaurant that needs to be inspected by the Richardson health department?

  2. How is getting together at someones house to cook illegal? Is this relly that swingers club I’ve been reading about in Carrollton that got busted.

  3. I don’t think that getting together at someone’s house to cook is illegal.

    My question should have been: “Does a group of 30 people paying for a set menu prepared by a professional chef meet the definition of a restaurant, thereby requiring health department inspection?”

    I am pretty sure that there is a legal definition of what constitutes a restaurant in the State of Texas or Dallas County. Maybe one of the lawyers who read this site knows?

    A dictionary defines it as “a place where people pay to sit and eat meals that are cooked and served on the premises.”

  4. some of the secret supper clubs are hush-hush primarily because the chefs cook food that are not “legal”. i.e. meat that has been smuggled into the u.s., etc. i don’t think we will have to worry about suspect meat in this supper club.

  5. How about people are just chipping in to help pay for the ingredients while someone else does all the work? They really can’t be making a ton of money off something like this. When you consider the time and effort it takes to put together a dinner party for 30, I’d say they were not making a dime. It seems to me that it’s more about the food and the people.

  6. kirk, thanks for the shout out (which I understand must be hard to pull off with tongue firmly planted in cheek), but its snootyfoodie.com – y instead of ie

  7. York Street struggles along with “crowds” not much bigger than that, on purpose. But York Street is inspected by the City of Dallas (and received a 92 on their most recent routine inspection).

    Lots of groups (churches, for example) host potluck suppers and other “congregate” meals, and they don’t require inspection under health department regulations in most places. However, the incidence of food-borne illness is surprisingly high at such events, and if they open up the event to the general public they usually have to submit to routine inspection or at least have a kitchen that is certified as safe for group food preparation.

    Nancy Nichols, who I think worked as a professional caterer at one time in her storied career, probably knows a lot more about this than I do.

  8. They are providing a planned, scheduled event and accepting money in return for entry.

    I want to know about it too, because I don’t see anywhere they are registered as a non-profit.

  9. As for the Secret Suppers, this is actually an idea that started in Austin.

    There is a group called Slow Food Internat’l with a chapter in Dallas whose philosophy is to bring people together to share food that is good, clean and fair. Our Slow Food mission is to educate people about where their food comes from and how to support our local producers. Beyond that though, we want people to return to a lifestyle that encourages spending time at the table with family and friends. The pleasures of the table are both a motivation and a result of enjoying food that is produced locally and sourced from farmers who grow things organically and naturally. It is a vibrant
    and dynamic group that regularly schedules
    potlucks and food events in our area.

    Going around the Department of Health is not only risky, its unethical. I would not encourage people to do that. Because at Slow Food we each bring something to contribute to the potluck, we are not “buying” dinner but rather sharing the work of our own hands and hearts. That makes it
    a more personal and memorable experience for us all.

  10. Hmmm…not much of that menu, starting with Italian wine, looks “local” to me, despite the stated aims of the organizer. Do we grow blood oranges in TX?

  11. Hope Jordan has a valid Texas sales and use tax permit and is collecting 8.25% sales tax on that $30 because he is selling taxable goods and services. I might drop by with IRS Guy (along with TABC Guy, Health Inspector Guy and Zoning Ordinance Guy) to see for myself.

  12. I’m having some people over tomorrow for the Super Bowl and am asking each person to bring $5 to help off-set the cost of steaks, beer, and wine. How worried do I need to be that I might be shut down? Comptroller guy, whats your address so I can send the approximate $2.89 I plan on taking up? What time should I expect the guys from the TABC? Do I just need to tell everyone to not come? Oh man. I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.

  13. Anthony Bourdain went to one during one episode- Seattle, called Gypsy. The deal was that it had smuggled cheeses, meats, etc that are legal in Europe but illegal here. The good stuff behind the government’s back. One of the reasons why they were secret. Anyway, not much longer after the episode aired, they were flooded with requests to join. Someone shifty got in, turned them into the city & they were immediately shut down.

  14. Allison, I’ve heard of several underground dinners in Dallas like the one on AB’s show. If somebody out there is throwing one, give me a ring. I promise not to tell and I have several “interesting” food items from afar in my fridge.

  15. A coworker has a friend who is in a cheese club in Dallas where they get illegal cheese. My wife loves cheese and I tried to get more information but the girl at work told me her friend said they wouldn’t take new members.

  16. If you let my Granddaughter Nancy, come, she will bring the dead goat in the freezer.

  17. It appears that the majority of the people on this post have too much time on their hands. Why is it so difficult to just enjoy something such as eating good food and celebrating life with others? Of course there are those who wish to scrutinize everything; no one is asking to attend these dinners and it would probably be best if you just stayed home.