Marco Maestoso is cooking up a storm for hungry foodies -- but you won't find him in a restaurant.
Rather, the aspiring chef has been cooking for guests in his own home through the online service Feastly, which connects cooks with diners for homemade meals.
"Opening our home to strangers is exciting, fun and never gets boring," says Maestoso, who along with his girlfriend, chef Dalila Eroclani, prepare gourmet Italian fare for guests at their Upper East Side apartment for $55 per person. "Hundreds of people have come through our door in only a few months."
Underground supper clubs are nothing new in New York City, but they're less underground than before, thanks to online social services like Feastly and its global ilk, Cookapp and EatWith, that take the exclusivity out of the dinner series.
Even "secret" clubs are becoming more open, like Chefs Dinner Series, an underground dinner club featuring celebrity chefs that is opening up to the public this year.
"Meeting new people at a cocktail party usually entails a brief interchange, whereas at a private dinner party, you have the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation in an ambiance that promotes conviviality," says Ronnie Rodriguez, maître d of the Chef's Dinner Series.
Eager to RSVP? From fine dining to potlucks, here are five dinner series to know in New York City:
SeriesFor the past year and a half, this monthly dinner club has brought together Michelin-star winners, James Beard Award nominees and "Top Chef" alums, including the likes of David Bouley and Ted Allen, to show off their culinary skills. Each gathering hosts between two to five dozen people for a four- to seven-course dinner at private homes or venues.
How to RSVP: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to reserve a spot 4-6 weeks in advance of the next event. Cost: $150-$175
The League of Kitchens
Learn how to make Indian, Korean, Bangladeshi, Lebanese, Trinidadian, Argentinean, Afghani or Greek food from people who grew up eating the cuisine themselves in this cooking workshop series. Each class is led by an immigrant instructor, who will teach two to three dishes, followed by a meal. The eight home cooks host two workshops per month on the weekends for upwards of five students, from Bay Ridge to Bayside.
How to RSVP: Register at Leagueofkitchens.com until the day of the workshop. Cost: $95
What started as a weekly tradition in the founders' apartments is now a monthly dinner open to anyone willing to bring a dish for 12-15 guests in this potluck series. Held the third week of each month at design company Holstee's Gowanus space, guests prepare salads, entrees and dessert -- savory vegetarian plates especially desired.
How to RSVP: Sign up at Holstee.com/brooklynpotluck 1-2 weeks in advance of the event. Cost: Bring a dish
Budding chefs and curious diners can connect through this online service. Menus are set by hosts in advance and shared online, so guests can find a dinner that looks appetizing. Cuisines and neighborhoods vary -- upcoming dinners include vegetarian Mediterranean in central Harlem and a meze hookah hangout in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Launched in 2013, this is no small-time operation; Feastly also operates in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Chicago and offers Cook Protection, an insurance policy of up to $1 million every meal for its chefs.
How to RSVP: Find dinners and reserve a seat at Eatfeastly.com. Cost: Varies
Cure Supper Club
Chef Diego Moya and sommelier Miguel De Leon are behind this monthly dinner series, where 10 to 20 people gather for outside-the-box dinner and drink combinations -- and the occasional dessert tasting menu. Mystery is part of its appeal: guests are granted clues to the meals' themes, which focus on a particular vegetable, but the eight plates being offered are not revealed until mealtime.
How to RSVP: Email email@example.com as early as three weeks in advance of an event to reserve a spot. Cost: $95