Food: Revealing Willingham's Hidden supper club
A collab between Willingham's Puddini catering and worldwide chef Ben Sulston, Hidden is Cambridgeshire's newest - and most delicious - supper club
“We spent lockdown delivering food to your table; now we’d like to invite you to ours.” That’s the ethos behind supper club Hidden, new from Willingham deli and catering company Puddini. A collaboration with Ben Sulston, the Cambridgeshire-born chef who’s spent the last 20 years cooking his way around the globe, Hidden made its debut this summer and every date released since has been a sell-out.
Creating menus with seasonality, flavour and nutrition at their core, the venture grew out of the Italian ‘supper club takeaway’ service which Puddini’s Lindsay and Alex Harris launched when Covid put paid to their usual event catering.
“It took us in a different direction, but one that we fell in love with,” explains Lindsay, who founded Puddini with her chef husband in 2011, five years after they met “on opposite sides of the pass: I saw him making pasta and knew this was the man I would marry!”
Inspired by and hosted in a ‘hidden’ space upstairs at Puddini HQ, Hidden offers “a unique dining experience with the chef talking through the courses: the thinking behind the dishes, the process of creating them and then a little bit about the amazing producers involved, really allowing us to showcase the local suppliers that Alex has been working hard to source over the years,” adds Lindsay. “We are so lucky to be able to say that most of the fruit and vegetables are grown within a mile of us.”
Alex having worked in Michelin starred restaurants in London and celebrity hang-outs in Manchester, and Ben having cooked in kitchens across Brazil, Thailand, Spain, Holland and France as well as the UK, the chefs bring both a wealth of experience and an international angle to their menus.
Eschewing old-school “cream, salt, sugar and butter. . . just an easy way to make something taste good without much skill” in favour of healthier flavour-filling options, such as spices, herbs and citrus juices, Ben says: “Without flavour there is no point to what we do as chefs. Some flavours transport you back to your childhood, while others create new memories that will be with you forever.
“Quite simply, food tastes better when in season. Chefs view the year differently to the rest of the world: while most people are upset summer is over and the days are getting darker and colder, we are getting excited about the arrival of ceps, root vegetables and the start of the game season.”
With the October menu including pan fried scallop, chorizo, cauliflower and almonds, followed by lamb rump and shoulder, butternut squash, leek and mint, adds Lindsay: “Our original ethos remains the same – we are passionate about creating food memories.”
For updates, supper club dates and to book, follow @hidden_by_puddini on Instagram.
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More by this authorAlice Ryan