Australian founder Michelle Tang has created FlirtyFridays, a curated social dining experience in Singapore, Sydney, Hong Kong and London, offering attendees an exclusive experience where fine cuisine intersects with art and culture.
Imagine a door swings open, revealing an intricate art gallery buzzing with well-travelled professionals from all over the world, waiting to mingle with you over a fruity glass of red and a candlelit table. Meet FlirtyFridays, an immersive social dining experience created by Australian Founder Michelle Tang, whereby art and cuisine intertwine. A self-taught home cook and foodie with a love for photography, food, styling and writing, Michelle deviated away from a career in Finance and Marketing to pursue a more creative calling, launching underground supper club, FlirtyFridays, two years later. Since then, she’s hosted countless dinners in Hong Kong, with occasional pop-ups in Singapore, Sydney and London, recruiting live bands, talented chefs, standup comedians and professional violinists along the way.
Combining elements of culture, art and live music alongside fine cuisine every fortnight, FlirtyFridays began as a passion project, helping to “facilitate new meaningful connections between like-minded individuals in a way that is authentic and convivial,” Michelle relates. “It started off as a hobby and I had no intention of turning it into a business,” she laughs. “I just simply love cooking for friends and creating a good time for everyone. And it just grew from that.” In 2019, she stepped away from her 9-to-5 job to devote her creative energies to FlirtyFridays full-time: “It was popular, so I thought, why don’t I try to devote six or eight months on it and see how far I can get?”
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Put together to foster authentic connections (and lively debates) between strangers, each dinner brings an intimate party of 10 to 20 open-minded, intellectually curious attendees together for four to five hours. They’ve seen everyone from data scientists to lawyers, entrepreneurs to philanthropists through their doors, all of whom are invited after a light vetting process – a quick one-on-one coffee with Michelle to ensure everyone’s on a similar wavelength. “It’s a new way of meeting people from friendships to potential dating,” Michelle explains, encouraging guests to put away their smartphones and build more genuine face-to-face relationships. With each seat clocking in at HKD 1100 to HKD 1400, guests can also expect culinary delights from an eight-course dessert supper, delicately arranged by a French chef, to a five-course Italian feast or an eight-course, home-cooked Sichuan meal, alongside “an overlay of art,” be that a performance or a TEDx-style inspirational speaker. For those who might find the dinners a little too steep, Michelle has recently introduced a cheaper, social Sunday brunch option, priced around the HKD 688 – 788 mark, as well as hands-on cooking workshops to appeal to a broader audience.
Riding on a wave of early success and rave reviews, Michelle has big plans up ahead. “My goal is to build a globally curated social dining network for working professionals in all the major cities around the world, alongside an ecosystem where I can promote underground artists and up-and-coming culinary talent, and use those two creative mediums to bring like-minded people together.” For now, the social dining community’s growth is driven by its members – and the friends they bring along to share in the excitement. “Meeting people via friends of friends is, after all, the best way to meet new people and foster new genuine connections,” Michelle remarks. “In a digital age where everything is just a click or swipe away, we value intimacy in human connectivity and authenticity,” she adds.
Fuelled by a vision to cultivate deeper connections across the world, Michelle is determined to change how we socialise – and date – for the better. So if you’re on the lookout to meet new people beyond your immediate social circles, perhaps give one of the FlirtyFridays social dinners, brunches or cooking workshops a shot. Who knows who you might meet.