Event #3 Hood Dinners 6 // Change
|100 Barrington Road, Brixton.
|Friday 30th August 2019
|18:45 - until late
|Cost of ticket
Ok, I was really excited to go to this event. I’ve been following Hood Dinners on Instagram for quite some time now but was always double booked on previous dinner dates. This time though, a friend and I got tickets (the last two luckily!) and all day Friday I was fidgety with excitement. I can’t remember how I came across this fabulous idea, most likely from intensive scrolling, but the whole concept was truly refreshing to experience.
Hood Dinners is a ‘dinner series combining delicious food with inspiring female speakers’ ran by three girlfriends Amy, Hannah and Ellie. Their aim is to create a community of women in London who all share a love for meaningful conversation over good food and a couple of glasses of vino. Each dinner focuses on a particular concept for their guest speakers to discuss in a personal and professional sense.
The word was CHANGE. Change is powerful, necessary, unwanted and scary. Life is ever-changing, no day is the same and any type of change has the power to alter a person forever.
Let’s tuck in, shall we?
The main event
First things first, the venue was TDF (To Die For, as my Granny says). A converted warehouse, decorated with beautiful flowers, fairy lights and second-hand furniture, it was an enticing yet elegant environment. The table decorations were perfect, one could easily tell a lot of thought had been put into them - just the most gorgeous display (peep the picture below). Upon arrival, you instantly felt at ease as all three organisers came over to hug you like you were lifelong friends. That is quite a feat bearing in mind there were 40 diners.
One key thing I learnt from the beginning was how to achieve optimal mingling. Method: add 1 room full of interesting people + apricot gin and lemon verbena fizz cocktails + a plethora of nibbles such as aubergine fritters, salt cod beignets (with plenty of saffron aioli) and garlic toast = recipe for success. Once a good deal of munching and mingling had occurred, we were ushered to the dinner tables to listen and feast. The event ambience felt like two old friends sharing a bottle of rouge sat on a big old sofa. It was just lush and I was captivated by the whole scene. Hannah, who comes from a journalism background, asked insightful questions to each speaker discussing the key concept of change. And boy oh boy... between the three of them, they had experienced a LOT of change throughout their lives so far.
Before the food was brought out, we heard from the first speaker Dr Ronx. They are a non-binary queer NHS doctor who drew upon their background, family life and local community as main contributors to the changes that they've been through. Their mantra stems from the turbulent change and difficulties they have faced: "You cannot be what you do not see." Listening to Dr Ronx open up about the fragility of their mental health to complete strangers felt very personal and their light-hearted nature put everyone at ease. After the starters and mains were served, we heard from Olivia Potts, a grief author. She opened up about how the premature death of her mother led to a drastic career change. From barrister to baker, Olivia made cakes to find a new purpose in life without her mother. She was a similar age to me now when change stormed through the doors. I felt very lucky to listen to her talk about how she stumbled through the rest of her twenties after experiencing loss. Finally, pudding came knocking at our doors and that kept everyone quiet for a wee while. We then heard from Sali Hughes, the Beauty Editor at the Guardian, who referred to her difficult and poverty-stricken teenage years being the catalyst to enter the beauty industry and to create change from within. She wanted to help others in situations she had also experienced. Shoutout! Beauty Banks was the change, it’s a charity which tackles hygiene poverty. If you do one good thing today, I recommend that you donate any surplus Secret Santa body lotions to your nearest bank, find it here.
Now I'm sure you're all wondering what we actually had for dinner. I can't begin to explain how fabulous it was. Head chef Ellie writes recipes for the Sunday Telegraph so she knows her food and oh my, did she plan a show stopper...
To start: griddled peaches with burrata and green harissa, sourdough for scooping and dips: olive oil, homemade fig vinegar and pickled courgette and fennel.
Main course: slow-roasted lamb with gremolata, a sharing dish of borlotti beans, roasted tomatoes, pink pickled onions and basil, griddled courgette with ricotta, mint, chilli and pinenuts, plus a creamy potato salad with capers and fennel.
Dessert: Apricot, orange blossom and basil pavlova.
Now before I carry on, let's just take a moment for that menu to sink in...
All the dishes looked like a work of art and every single forkful tasted like magic. You 100% get your money's worth out of the ticket just from the food, never mind the entertainment. What I loved the most was the sharing element of the dinner. It gave a very wholesome family vibe to the dinner, transforming strangers into friends in a matter of courses. From brief introductions and chit chat about how you came across Hood Dinners to dishing out bowls of food, passing over cutlery and sharing any leftovers with others further down the table, all of a sudden you didn't feel like a paying guest but a key member of a slightly mismatched family.
When putting on a show like that, you want to feel as though you've touched all bases. Well, Hood Dinners did just that, not forgetting any teeny details. It was almost like the variety of speakers and the mouth-watering food didn't seem enough for the organisers as there were many more surprises throughout the night. On a more practical side, there was security at the door which gave the event an air of exclusivity to a more sweet surprise of bowls of multicoloured mentos in the bathroom plus plenty of other treats like goody bags from COACH, little packs of spices from Rooted Spices to take home and also a competition to win a designer handbag as well. It felt like I'd won the lottery being able to experience such a fantastic event.
How dreamy is this set up!?
Food for thought
Food brings people together- fact.
Whilst I was sat there taking in everything from this flawless event, it crossed my mind that I had never really thought about the compelling connection between food and feminism before. The sense of community, sisterhood and solidarity through food is clearly very powerful, having the capacity to nourish our souls and stomachs. Traditionally, cooking has been recognised, if not expected, as a woman's skill to uphold. By creating a safe space for women to eat good food and talk seems like a way to reclaim this outdated notion of being in the kitchen. There's something about fuelling our bodies whilst encouraging each other to fulfil our goals, to talk out worries and to spend quality time together in order to realign the common feminist goal of obtaining equality, opportunities and recognition no matter who you are.
So ladies, let's cook up a storm.
Would I recommend this? 1000% yes. The whole concept for Hood Dinners is uplifting and tasty for the soul. You didn’t feel for one second that any of the organisers had missed anything, all individually using their talents to complement one another. Given that this is a relatively new community and it already ticks all the boxes, I am excited to see how it will continue to progress and transform into a world-class concept with female-driven supper clubs popping up across the globe. I look forward to attending the next one.
Love Poppy x
Literally no words - I can still taste how good the pud was right now.
Hi, I'm Poppy
Feminism, creativity, exploring the world & having a good time are really important to me. If you liked the above, why not subscribe to my newsletter? This is just the beginning.