BreakBread: Behind the supper club marketplace using Airbnb as a recipe for success

The online platform aggregates home dining events in the UAE, aiming to disrupt the food industry for the better

BreakBread lets users browse and book private dinners hosted by chefs around the UAE. Photo: BreakBread
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Whether in a cosy apartment, roomy villa or even a rustic-chic warehouse, the popularity of supper clubs continues to simmer — providing an alternative and social way to dine in comparison to the traditional restaurant. Now, a home-grown online platform is giving them a greater boost in the UAE.

BreakBread, which launched in September, is an online aggregator of supper clubs akin to Airbnb, where home cooks are able to list their dining events, and guests can book a spot around their dinner table.

BreakBread wants to “bridge the gap between the diner and the cook”, its co-founder and chief executive Dalia Lachine tells The National.

The gap she's alluding to has long been built into the novelty of supper clubs ― intimate dining experiences that are sometimes even described as “underground”, without the marketing and operational machinery of mainstream restaurants.

Supper clubs are typically hosted at a private venue and are limited to a small number of guests. Dishes change frequently and the success of the evening relies heavily on the social aspect of dining. As such, supper clubs are the counterculture to the grandeur of the restaurant industry.

“It allows me to exercise my profession with complete freedom, without the constraints and workloads in hotel establishments,” says French chef Vincent Caudet, a host on BreakBread, who describes supper clubs as the “renaissance in our profession”.

Caudet, the grandson of a farmer, loves the diversity of ingredients in French gastronomy. After pursuing culinary studies, he travelled around the world to perfect his craft. His supper club features dishes from his travels with a focus on Caribbean cuisine.

Supper club chef Vincent Caudet is a host on BreakBread

Supper clubs also allow chefs and cooks to “experiment with new dishes and menus,” says host Ramsey Shantouf, but more importantly they “allow us to build more personal connections with food enthusiasts”.

Shantouf's “love for fire” is the main inspiration behind his supper club. He hosts barbecue nights, serving steaks, burgers and hot dogs. Having grown up in Los Angeles, he saw how barbecue brought people together, which he aims to recreate in Dubai.

Sustaining the supper club

These benefits are futile if people have never heard about a particular supper club. Despite their long history, advertising has often been tricky. In the US, for example, the concept was often scrutinised for bypassing government rules on selling food.

Chef Ramsey Shantouf invites diners for a barbecue meal via BreakBread

This made it hard for supper clubs to pursue conventional ways of marketing, like putting a sign on the street or advertising online, so chefs generally relied on word of mouth. However, given a supper club doesn't function as a normal restaurant with an arbitrary menu and schedule, getting the word out can be challenging.

It's why, according to Caudet, a platform like BreakBread can be helpful. “It helps me become more visible to the community,” says Caudet.

Over the years, similar services have popped up with a mission to expand the alternative dining audience. An early platform that launched in the US is EatWith, which now has hundreds of private dinners in major cities around the world, from Paris to Tokyo. BonAppetour, launched in Singapore, also offers food walking tours and at-home cooking classes.

The platforms also allow hosts to invite more guests to their dinners, especially first-timers who may never otherwise have heard of a supper club taking place in the corner villa in Dubai's Al Manara, say.

“BreakBread helps first-timers to experience the true passion of chefs,” says Shantouf.

Italian chef Donna Patrizia, who is also a BreakBread host, says the platform makes the process of inviting customers “flawless and effective”.

Chef Donna Patrizia serves regional Italian dishes at her supper club. Photo: BreakBread

Like most other supper club hosts, Patrizia wants to focus on cooking the best food. She pays homage to her childhood growing up in an Italian family, when “cooking was a pillar of our daily life”.

Originally a marketing executive, Patrizia spent the past decade doing what she loves most: cooking and sharing food. She focuses on traditional Italian recipes using quality ingredients and is particularly passionate about regional Italian dishes.

Through her supper club, she aims to build a “niche of foodies interested in discovering many underrated or unknown regional Italian dishes”, which might be more challenging to do in regular restaurants that often serve the same menu for longer periods.

Fervent passion aside, hosts also hope to make their home businesses financially sustainable, which aggregators claim to help with.

"Starting a new business is challenging because there are several barriers to entry,” says Lachine, adding the company hopes to help entrepreneurs with additional revenue streams.

BreakBread has more than 200 hosts in the UAE and plans to expand into Saudi Arabia and Egypt this year.

The end game is to help put often unheard-of supper clubs on the menu of dining options in cities, perhaps even enabling them to rival restaurants just as Airbnb hosts compete with hotels. The goal is to also enable chefs, such as Caudet, Shantouf and Patrizia, to enjoy the comforts of home cooking without the stress of running a full-blown establishment.

“Attending these events involves elements of personalisation,” Lachine says. “They are designed to promote social interaction and cross-cultural immersion.”

Eating, after all, is a social activity, she adds, and a supper club, with its “welcoming atmosphere” and “unique dining experience”, provides the perfect venue for such meaningful interactions.

More information is available at

Updated: March 01, 2023, 7:01 AM