Now, while I love to cook, and cook often at home. I have yet to brave a dinner party. The thought of having a group of people sit down and eat food I have made, whilst looking at me, scares me a little! I used to cook for a huge, hungry crew when working at festivals, but a dinner party, in my own home? No, that’s a little too scary. Plus, who would do all that washing up!? When La Belle Assiette got in touch to see if I’d like to host a dinner party with a twist, I was a little apprehensive, until they explained they would send a chef in.
They offer a directory of chefs across the UK, each with their own menu options. You pick a chef, a date and select the menu that takes your fancy. Prices start from £39 a head. They suggested Mike as our chef, and explained he would come and cook up a feast, wait on us and also clean up afterwards! I agreed and a few days later Mike gave me a call to discuss menu options. We chatted about my food preferences and dietary requirements for the group. I warned Mike of my small kitchen, and we agreed on a time and date.
Mike arrived a couple of hours early to start setting up. I immediately felt relaxed around him and showed him around the kitchen. He soon got to work preparing our 3 course feast. Charlie and I had to dismantle our oak dining table to get it into the living room, but it was soon back together and we set the table. We chatted to Mike whilst waiting for our guests, and he showed me photos of his INCREDIBLE kitchen renovation (one day I will have something like that!).
Soon our guests arrived and we sat down ready to see what Mike had prepared. We started to nibble on the lovely bread from The Thoughtful Bread Company (my favourite bakers in Bath) and sip on some organic wine. Mike came out and ran through the menu with us, he also explained where he had sourced lots of the ingredients from. It was good to hear him mention lots of local producers and suppliers.
We started with a gorgeous celeriac soup, topped with lemon oil and candied walnuts. Celeriac has to be one of my favourite vegetables, and I was not disappointed with the soup. It was creamy, rich and flavoursome. The focaccia croutons and candied walnuts gave the perfect crunch. Soon the bowls were clean and we were smelling the woody mushrooms from the kitchen.
The main was a delicious mushroom, spinach and thyme gratin with carrots, fennel and braised red cabbage. The gratin was full of flavour, and a lovely hearty dish. I was stuffed by the time the mains were over, but Mike called me into the kitchen to take a sneak peak at dessert, and I knew I could probably make room for it.
The salted caramel and chocolate mousse with blackberries was the perfect end to a lovely meal. The blackberries cut through the rich mousse wonderfully. The mousse was chocolatey and rich, and we finished them off in no time. We all commented how contently full we were.
I loved having a private chef cook us a meal in the comfort of our home, I felt relaxed and it was an experience I will happily be doing again. It would be great for birthdays, anniversaries or any celebration. Even a special dinner for 2, La Belle Assiette can cater for everyone. I’m pretty sure Mike left our kitchen cleaner than it was before he arrived!
Disclaimer: This meal was complimentary as a ‘validation’ meal for chef Mike. All honest opinions are my own.