A salon supper, dotted with informal talks, brings the promise of knowledge to the table, and good food, too
We all know a bit about something – whether from work or study, travel or a hobby. These pearls of wisdom, however, are unlikely to come up in conversation. Yet, with the right setting, good food and willing friends, you can create a memorable evening, peppered with stories shared (see how on page 29). A modern salon calls for dishes that impress without stealing the show – a menu that needs only the lightest of last-minute prep. The result? Appetites sated and minds broadened.
How to host your own salon
Think about space
How much room have you got for people to sit comfortably? A nice full room creates a buzz, but too many people makes the space seem squashed. Where will you position food and drink? It needs to be accessible without disrupting speakers.
Check, one, two
If you’re not meeting in a house or flat, but in a pub or another borrowed venue, it’s worth checking your speakers can be heard without a microphone.
Be the curator
What do you want your salon to look like and who speaks? It could be that you’re
a group of friends and you all share, or that each of you brings an interesting person to speak.
Choose a theme
This will help an evening hang together. Keep it broad to allow for interpretation and creativity. You can either go abstract – new or lost, for example – or concrete – topics such as holidays or school.
Play the host
Beyond serving food and drink, you’ll need to introduce the event (or ask someone else to): thank people for coming, set out the theme of talks, and describe the shape of the evening – how many speakers there are, when breaks will be – so that guests know what to expect. Then just see where the night takes you.
Turn to page 22 of the April issue for more from our salon Gathering, including Beetroot & horseradish dip, Mixed olives with lemon zest, Asparagus spears with parma ham & toasted almonds, Spring lemon & cardamom chicken, Rainbow roasted carrots with cumin and Jewelled couscous with watercress, peppers & pomegranate.