23 Oct AN INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH GREGORY, FOUNDER OF WANDERSUPS
Miss London Concierge were delighted to interview the very talented Hannah Gregory, Founder of Wandersups and Masterchef 2020 quarter finalist.
We loved chatting to Hannah about her passion for cooking, amazing supper clubs and those all-important bespoke dinners for 6!
So how did Wandersups come about Hannah?
WanderSups was born through an obsession with cooking and my addiction to travel. Wandering to far ﬂung destinations and striving to seek out the best local restaurants (and by restaurants I mean beach braiis, roadside shacks and home kitchens), mopping up all the tips, tricks and ﬂavours and bringing them back home to feed good people great food.
Following a ten-year career in event & festival production and creative event styling, I decided to take a new path and dive into the culinary world – this was kick started by my appearance on MasterChef 2020 where I finished up as a quarter finalist.
Through this experience I discovered my true passion, or dharma if you will – a persistent desire to bring people together, feed them amazing food and create incredible experiences via supper clubs, private dining experiences and sharing recipes that are guaranteed to make you smile!
How would you describe your style of cooking?
In all my cooking I have an emphasis on organic, local produce with a key focus of eliminating food waste.
All WanderSups events – no matter how big or small, follow one mantra – PREP | COOK | SUPS | PLAY. A reminder that there should be just as much love put into sourcing ingredients and writing recipes as the cooking and the eating and the dancing on the tables that usually ensues towards the end of the night at one of our supper clubs.
And of course, you cannot WanderSups without music playing and a drink in hand!
What did you take away from your experience as a Masterchef contestant?
I think I had two main take aways – the first being that my biggest critic and greatest enemy are myself and that my own self doubt would be my downfall – which it turns out, was true. There was a day of filming when John and Gregg took me aside and said “you’re a really good cook, you know what you are doing, but your lack of confidence is going to be your biggest issue in this kitchen”. It was a real lightbulb moment and something I have been working on a lot since. I think it is so easy to listen to the negatives and forget the positives so I now make a real effort to remind myself of that moment if I am ever doubting myself.
The second being this huge feeling of realising that cooking was what I was meant to do. I had been feeling pretty down and lost before the competition. Not knowing what direction to take my career in, everything had lost its spark. And then the moment I started cooking for others I realised that was something I could happily do for the rest of my life.
What does the name Wandersups mean and how did you come up with it?
Wander : An act or instance of wandering (in this case, around the world)
Sups : A casual supper between friends, often served at the kitchen table rather than the formal setting of the dining room. Believed to be first coined by the great Jilly Cooper
WanderSups : Food created with love, inspired by journeys around the world, dished up on home turf
I was toying around with the word Wanderlust, one of my favourite words in the English language. My very straight talking friend said “you don’t want to call your business something you find on a Primark T-Shirt”. I had to agree. ‘Sups’ has always been a common turn of phrase in our house, whether inviting someone over for sups or asking what is for sups, it’s just how I have always referred to supper. I was walking the dog one day and it popped into my head, I shared it in a couple of group chats and everyone loved it. If I’m totally honest, it took me while to fall completely in love with it – the name I mean – I was worried people wouldn’t get it but after nearly a year of living, eating, breathing WanderSups, I couldn’t think of a more perfect name.
A friend did say to me the other day “ooooh, I thought it meant Wandering Supper club” which in hindsight probably makes a lot more sense!
Tell us a little bit about the fabulous private dining and supper club experiences you offer
Well the supper clubs are just that, an experience. Each has a unique theme based on the food and my travels to the place in question. Each menu is carefully curated to pay homage to amazing cuisines, iconic dishes and recipes that I have picked up or learnt on my travels. Playlists are put together to transport guests to said destination, whether that be listening to blues as they dine on soul food or afro beat and West African stews. Venues are decorated with nods to the geographic location, menus written on vintage postcards. I want for every guest that attends a WanderSups event to be transported to another place through good food, good music and good company.
When restrictions came into place it became harder to host supper clubs but luckily the concept is easily transferable to an at home setting. With holidays being cancelled and travel being restricted it became the perfect opportunity to recreate these holidays at home and provide my clients with a night of escapism. I then started getting briefs to for things such as anniversary meals with a menu from the country the client honeymooned in. It has been so much fun working with people to create something truly bespoke.
The rule of 6 has proven extremely popular recently for private dining events. What can guests except from a Wandersups dining event for 6 and are there any rules/restrictions they need to keep in mind?
My main ‘rule’ is that everyone is to have fun and not lift a finger.
Following a telephone consultation, I will send over a few menu options for the client to choose from. From that we will work together to put all the components in place to create a night to remember. On the day, I will arrive a couple of hours before the guests to ensure everything runs smoothly. I will then take care of the cooking, serving, drink pouring, washing up and anything else required. I’ll even take the bins out!
Where can our readers find you on social media and how can they get in touch to book a dining event?
To book an event email email@example.com
If you fancy trying your hand at a few of Hannah’s banging recipes, you can view these for free here
Happy cooking 😊