This weekend a chef came to cook for us at our house thanks to La Belle Assiette, a private chef service. Find out what we thought.
It was Father's Day in the UK this weekend so when La Belle Assiette got in touch to ask me if I would like to try out their private chef service it seemed like the perfect time to try it out.
It's never occurred to me to use a private chef. We don't have oodles of spare cash, I like cooking and our house isn't that spacious. Other worries that sprang immediately to mind (yes, I am a worrier), included "how will the chef cope with me being vegan?", "will the kids eat anything?", "our house is a building site at the moment" and "our kitchen is desperately in need of replacement".
I needn't have worried. The chef, Chris Ziolkowski, gave me a call to talk through the menu and in light of my worries about the state of the house and kitchen offered to come over for a chat.
Chris had a quick look at the kitchen and checked the state of our aged oven and hob. He didn't run away so maybe the kitchen isn't as bad as I thought! He suggested that we eat in the garden to give him more space in the kitchen (the kitchen doors open on to the garden so we were still very close to the action) but he was equally happy to work around us if we wanted to eat inside instead. He brought along his gazebo in case of bad weather. Chris runs his own catering company and was able to supply all the cutlery, crockery and glassware. And even better him and his team washed up everything. In fact the kitchen was cleaner when they left!
In the end he created an entirely vegan menu and my kids, yes even picky eating R, 8, enjoyed most of the food. I was gobsmacked to see him tucking into the pearl barley risotto!
Here's what we ate:
The main course
My only criticism would be that Chris cooked far too much food! The kids were pretty full after their trio of starters, although R ate loads of his pearl barley risotto. He also loved the butternut squash soup - he's always refused to eat this for me so it just goes to show that the novelty factor (ie get a private chef to cook and serve it) goes a long way.
Despite being full the kids made a sterling effort to try all the desserts. The edible bowl and the star dust (popping candy) were extremely popular. My favourite dessert was the coconut panna cotta.
It was lovely being cooked for, something that doesn't happen very often for me, and even better knowing that I wouldn't be left with the washing up afterwards. Eating in the garden worked well for us, but you could eat inside if you have a larger kitchen/dining room/aren't in the middle of a major house renovation!
I really felt that Chris went the extra mile to cater for our varied needs. He learnt several new vegan dishes eg the vegan cheese sagnaki and he tried hard to make the food fun and attractive to the kids. The edible bowl was a genius touch and he also created a filo pastry basket as part of the starter, which was a fun touch.
The verdict? It was a great experience. We got to meet with the chef, have an input into the menu, watch him prepare the food, and hear him talk us through each course as it was served. The food was wonderful. I would definitely recommend trying it for a special occasion or dinner party.
La Belle Assiette offer three prices, £39 a head, £59 a head and £89 a head. Compared to the cost of a night out in a decent London restaurant this is very affordable, plus you get the chef all to yourself. La Belle Assiette chefs work all over the UK.
Disclaimer: we were offered a free meal from La Belle Assiette in exchange for this review. All opinions are honest and my own.