The members of Steve Weaver's supper club don't seek out exotic ingredients from around the world for their dishes. Instead, they visit farmers markets in search of fresh local produce to use in the themed dinners that they spend hours planning.
"Everybody here has got a lot going on in their lives. They love to spend a day in the kitchen in a way they hardly ever get to do," Weaver said. "It's the best meal you eat all month. You shop for the best ingredients."
Weaver, 35, lives in Worthington with his wife and owns The Candle Lab stores in Worthington and Grandview. Their supper club is a collection of friends like them-mostly 30-somethings who are professionals and entrepreneurs.
During a recent gathering, six couples prepared a multi-course meal with the theme "Fresh from the Market." Like usual, each couple brought one dish, and the host prepared the protein.
Members typically gather at the host's home one hour before the mealtime to take care of their dishes' last-minute details-jostling for counter space and negotiating for burners.
The friends enjoy trying new food and swapping recipes, said Donnie Austin, who, on this occasion, hosted the group in his Worthington home. He and his girlfriend, Megan Cavanaugh of Grandview, prepared pork shoulder.
"Everybody has been so happy with what everybody else makes," he said.
At the start of the meal, the cooks share a bit about the dish that they prepared. Members bring wine or prepare a cocktail to go with their course.
The conversation often centers on food as they savor the home-cooked meal.
While some members try their dishes for the first time the night of the party, others admit to practicing in advance.
"If I'm going to freak out about it," said Sara Abele of Worthington, "it's not fun."