Most Londoners don’t entertain at home much as it’s so much easier to meet at a local restaurant. Others might be inspired by Come Dine with me and attempt to recreate that with a round robbin of dinner parties with friends.
When I have dinner parties, I tend to spend all week planning a menu, then spend all day going around town to buy ingredients and then slave for a few hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking. There is almost no time for a quick mani pedi or to dress up. The last minute swipe of lipstick and a quick change of clothes is as much effort that goes into looking presentable.
Now there is an easy and painless solution to hosting dinner parties. La Belle Assiete is a new online business that connects you with a library of chefs who can come and cook in your home. They have over 550 chefs in many countries that can cater for your Sunday lunch, a company dinner party or even a canape party.
We tried out this service at a recent stylish dinner party at Fiona’s new home. Our chef for the night was Spaniard Cesar Fernandez who has been working in various fine dining kitchen in the city. His 4 course menu was:
Gin Cured Salmon with home made rye bread
Grilled free range chicken with pickled vegetables
Flaked confit of rabbit with wholegrain mustard and heritage carrots
Halibut with salt baked shallots and broccoli tabbouleh
Chocolate tart with salted caramel sauce, honeycomb and clotted cream
Cesar was so charming and he cooked and served our meal with a smile and was ready to talk us through each dish. Loved the flavours he put together on the plate. His style of cooking is Modern European with a twist, using seasonal ingredients and marrying them with unusual combinations of vegetables with great success.
Clever inventive canapes and starter, using cooking techniques that we would probably never attempt at home. The Rabbit confit was served with a colourful array of pickled vegetables to balance the richness of the meat.
We were all oohing and aahing over the perfectly cooked halibut with the broccoli “rice”. Move over cauliflower rice, you have been usurped. Using broccoli was a genius idea and it added colour to the dish.
Chefs are not usually all rounders in the kitchen especially when it comes to pastry. Cesar made the lightest pastry base for his chocolate tart and served it with a salted caramel sauce. We licked our plates. So good.
With the food, we had some unusually zingy Californian whites including a delicious Riseling from Carmel Road Monterey which had a great nose and quite fruity. This was followed by Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2013 and my favourite Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2011. The Grand reserve was smoother on the palate, had a lovely fruity nose and a long finish. Matched perfectly with the halibut. We tasted the red wine from Kendall-Jackson too, the Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 for those who preferred red.
It was a very impressive dinner party with beautifully presented food and delicious wines. As for the service, Cesar did a marvelous job cooking and serving the food with minimal fuss. There is no excuse not to have a dinner party now. You can pick your choice of cuisine and chef that fits your budget from La Belle Assiete’s site. Let them do all the work and best of all the cleaning up while you concentrate on enjoying your evening with your guests. What a brilliant idea!
EatCookExplore was a guest of La Belle Assiete and Kendall Jackson and Carmel Road for the wines.