This reflection comes to us today from our new intern and former volunteer, Natalia Gomez. After volunteering for our first annual StorySlam, she wanted to get more involved. This was her take on her first gathering with us.
The Real Food Real Stories’ Supperclub featuring Sylvie, owner and founder of Spice Mama went above and beyond my expectations. This was my second time attending a RFRS event. The first event was Benefit Storyslam Salty and Sweet edition hosted at Airbnb headquarters. The storyslam had roughly 300 attendees, multiple food vendors, and several inspiring storytellers. The supperclub had about 50 attendees, one storyteller, Sylvie, who also impressively cooked the meal for the evening. My first exposure to RFRS was through the large scale event filled with several varieties of food and people, therefore, the intimacy of the supperclub was truly unique and heartwarming.
The evening gathering took place in a lovely apartment in a high rise in SoMa with beautiful views of downtown San Francisco. The open layout of the home brought everyone together in one large room, where the storytelling and food sharing occurred. I arrived an hour before the event began to lend a helping hand. I walked in and found Sylvie working hard in the kitchen. Her dishes had my mouth watering from the second I laid eyes on them. The aroma of her spices mixing in the warm kitchen made me want to take all of her sauces home with me!
There was about an hour of socializing as people arrived to the event and then after we all lined up for dinner. Each guest sat on the floor on small pillows close together. The atmosphere felt unified and people were extremely appreciative of the meal Sylvie put time and work into. After most people were finished, the storytelling began. Sylvie began by thanking everyone and then went into opening up about her family, her health history, and her business. Hearing her speak so vulnerably about her personal experiences truly inspired the entire room. She also did an excellent job at integrating food with specific parts of her story. She reflected on a specific soup that her mom made for her and it’s comforting, simple components. While she described the soup and it’s significance we distributed small cups filled with it to all the guests. This allowed us to all connect with her through listening and tasting. The storytelling finished and then an open discussion began inviting guests to ask Sylvie questions .
Once the storytelling part finished, everyone said their goodbyes and were asked to fill out feedback cards.When they submitted their cards they received one of Sylvie’s amazing cookies in return. I stayed after to help transform the space back into Peiru’s home. This was a neat opportunity to be able to have seen the event from the very start all the way until the end. I was able to hear the immediate thoughts from the hosts and Sylvie herself.
My first Supperclub experience has me already excited for the next. I’m hooked. It was such a special space with new faces sharing food and personal narratives with one another. I felt the same feelings I do when I return home for the holidays with family. RFRS does a phenomenal job at cultivating a warm and welcoming atmosphere at both their large and small scale events. I am new to the RFRS community, but in my limited exposure I have already been fed delicious food, heard moving stories, and been enthralled to continue to get more involved.