Today we meet Alan Rosenthal who hosts his own Supper Clubs at the Renaissance café in Bounds Green, London. If after reading this article, you want to find out more about Alan and his food, follow him on Instagram!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I have always loved cooking. I did a languages degree which meant I lived abroad whilst studying and then found myself traveling and living abroad a fair bit afterwards. I decided to move into food 10 years ago and did the diploma at Leith’s School of Food and Wine. I went on to private chef and then set up my own food brand specialising in little pots of stew. I started selling them in Alexandra Palace Farmers’ market and then got listings in national supermarkets. I was then commissioned to write Ultimate One Pot Dishes in 2010 and it was republished in 2015.
I now regularly teach my one pot cooking class at Leiths School of Food and Wine and will soon also be teaching at the Grand Hotel in York. I do some private catering, write recipes for a veg box company and work in collaboration with organisations to improve the food the sell or serve in their establishments. I also recently started my supper clubs at Renaissance café in Bounds Green, London.
What inspired you to cook?
I think I’ve always just loved food and eating. As I child I was often tinkering in the kitchen. I get great satisfaction out of creating something for others to eat. I guess it comes down to nurturing and looking after people which I enjoy. Cooking food is also very creative and something you do with your hands – I play the violin too and used to enjoy sculpting at school! So I guess there must be something about the tactile nature of cooking also that I love and the element of alchemy in cooking!
What makes your Supper Club special?
My collaboration with Renaissance means that not only do you get great food, but also wonderful live music in keeping with the food. Of course, the food itself is always delicious. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel but simply trying to surprise and delight in an unpretentious way. There’s always at least 5 or 6 different things to eat, so it’s very generous and usually several twists on classic dishes. My food is extremely accessible yet with a point of difference; so, for example, I served little French style cheese beignets last night with a umami rich porcini dust and porcini fondue. This was a twist on a classic gougere and cheese fondue.
What's the best meal you've ever had/eaten?
The best meal I’ve ever eaten – that’s too hard a question. I’ve enjoyed amazing meals on the street Kuala Lumpur to a recent visit to Madame Le Pic in London; I couldn’t pick one particular meal.
Any advice for Supper Club guests?
Just relax, enjoy the food and speak to your neighbours!
We love the sound of Alan’s food – both comforting and interesting, it’s always great to see how creative chefs can be in the kitchen!