Maybe you're asking yourself "What’s the point?" Well, for one thing, it's fun and different, providing an opportunity to experience dining in a non-ordinary manner. The host—nearly always a serious amateur chef (but sometimes a professional)—gets to have fun preparing a restaurant-quality meal without all the heavy responsibilities that come along with running a real eatery. Interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle, one host noted that “It’s literally like playing restaurant.” Not only that, but a secret chef can be indulgently eclectic with the menu. As for the guests, they not only dine on gourmet goodies at bargain prices in an informal environment, but get to meet other people interesting enough to gravitate toward underground dining. All in all, a win for everyone involved.
I knew that Secret Dining had become popular in the U. S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America (where underground eating establishments are known as restaurante de puertas cerradas, or locked-door restaurants). Still, I was a bit surprised when a London-based American friend—a successful entrepreneur and former CEO taking a hiatus from the ordinary—informed me that she had started a secret supper club, The Nomad Chef, in her home in London’s Holland Park.