Louise-Claire Cayzer blogs under the name Poppy & the Bees and we’re huge fans at WeFiFo. She really is a true innovator – she’s clearly very excited about food (growing it, cooking it, eating it, sharing it) and she’s definitely open to trying interesting ways to put her menus in front of a new audience. That’s why we weren’t entirely surprised when she spotted WeFiFo and quickly hosted one of the first events in her area.
After she’d finished her event, we caught up with her to ask her how she’d got on and what she’d learnt….
What attracted you to WeFiFo in the first place?
It’s such a great new concept. It connects home chefs, supper club hosts and event organisers with hungry people. Basically, it’s a social network for food lovers like me. People who like to cook can join WeFiFo to find people who might want to eat their food. It can be anything from a university student serving their ‘famous’ veggie curry to help them eek out their student loan, to empty nesters who are used to feeding a big family and want to see their kitchen tables full again.
When you’re running these events you really need to think of your kitchen as a business and make sure you’re able to deliver good value but it’s also important to be able to pay yourself for your time and effort.
How did you feel inviting strangers into your home?
I cheated! I haven’t quite got the right space to host a lot of people at the moment, although I’m working towards that. Instead, I opted to borrow a friend’s house for the Poppy & the Bees event (Big Thank you to Andrew!). I just had to focus on the cooking and entertaining which made a lot of sense for my first WeFiFo event.
So what did you feed your guests?
Did I tell you I’m a vegan? I’m a vegan! I grow a lot of my own fruit and vegetables and am almost obsessed with cooking and experimenting with whatever is fresh and exciting on the day. After a bit of thinking and some last-minute substitutions the menu ended up like this:
Babaganoush Spicy Roast Carrot Dip Crudities
Stuffed Mini Portobello Mushrooms Heirloom Tomato salad with pesto dressing (most of the tomatoes were from my garden)
Home made ravioli filled with aubergine & roasted red pepper Green Leaf Salad with baby chard, dragon’s tongue, nasturtium leaves & flowers, all picked from our garden Courgette & White Bean Fritters ( Courgettes from my garden) Charred Sweet Corn Salad (an oldie but a goodie)
Wine! Feast Semeli white
Vegan Eton Mess , made with Meringue made with Aquafaba & Canela. Moody Dessert
And did guests bring their own booze?
Not on this occasion. I was very fortunate to have the help of Oddbins who paired my menu from their exclusive vegan wine selection. Most people assume that wine is vegan but it’s not, some wines use egg white or even fish bones in the clarification process so I wanted to offer my vegan guests vegan wine to accompany their meal. It was a real treat to have the wine expertly curated for us.
And what did you learn?
In my eagerness, I may have overstretched myself a little in the sheer quantity of dishes I made. When you’re running these events you really need to think of your kitchen as a business and make sure you’re able to deliver good value but it’s also important to be able to pay yourself for your time and effort. The more you do it, the more skilled you become and each time you learn a little more. If you do over cater (which is something we are all prone to doing) make sure it’s food you can enjoy for the rest of the week so you’re not wasting anything.
Did you enjoy it?
Oh absolutely. Everyone, including me, thoroughly enjoyed the evening. It was a chance to connect with some new people, as well as do my favourite thing, feed them yummy vegan food & break down a few preconceptions about it being boring or bland.
And will we see you at a WeFiFo event soon?
Just let me know where!
Louise-Claire Cayzer from Poppy and the Bees
[Photographs by Louise-Claire Cayzer]