F ancy hosting a dinner party, but don’t actually have the time to cook? With little ones running under your feet 24/ 7 the struggle is real, but luckily I might have just the solution for you. La belle assiette
La Belle Assiette is an online booking service connecting independent local chefs to those who enjoy the experience of fine dining, but can’t make it out to a restaurant. This is the second time we’ve used this service (the first being for my birthday just after Ollie was born) and I really can’t recommend it highly enough. The food is incredible and its such a stress free way to throw a really entertaining evening in the comfort of your own home.
All of the Chef’s on La Belle Assiette’s books are professionally trained expert chefs and have often worked in some of the best restaurants in the area. Our chef on this occasion was Sam Shone who has worked at the acclaimed Ockenden Manor in Susssex which held a Michellin star for 14 years and on a previous occasion we’ve had the pleasure of multi award winning, Twenty Four Saint Georges co-owner Dean Heselden cooking up a storm in our kitchen.
The La Belle Assiette Experience
On this occasion we were hosting a validation dinner for Sam to make his debut onto La Belle Assiette’s books. However had we been booking directly from the website, I would have used the online form to tell LBA some details about my event (number of guests, my local area, the date I had in mid etc. They would have then used this information to contact me and recommend the most suitable Chef’s for my occasion.
The beauty about the La Belle Assiette website is that it includes a full bio of all Chef’s, their experience and their signature menu’s. The site also includes detailed reviews on each chef from previous clients and all reviews are published whether they are positive or negative. All reviews contribute to the overall grade of the Chef.
Once you have chosen your Chef, then there are three pricing options to choose from depending on how much you’d like to wow your guests. Similar to choosing a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, the three pricing options provide varying levels of wow factor and they are actually more affordable than you’d think.
The ‘Temptation Menu’ is a menu for any occasion and this is £45 per head which here in the south is very similar to what you would pay for three courses at any local restaurant.
If you have something more special in mind, then the ‘Prestige Menu‘ is a gourmet level of service at £65 per head. Finally the Signature Menu is a Michelin quality service and this starts at £95 per head. This really is the cream de ‘la crème of what the La Belle Assiette Chefs have to offer and such a treat to be able to experience. Looking at these prices its very easy to see that hiring a private chef is actually very affordable when compared to going out for dinner. Particularly if you add on the cost of transport, alcohol and a babysitter for the evening.
For Sam’s validation dinner he pulled together an excuisit six course taster menu to tantilise our taste buds starting with hand dived scallops in grapefruit butter. This really was delicious as the flavours literally came alive in our mouths.
Second course was Heritage tomatoes and Burrata in a mango and chilli dressing – equally as delicious, then for third course we had Lime and Coconut Cod with a pea and lemongrass veloute. I’m a huge fan of lemongrass so this course was one of my favourites.
Similar to what you would experience in a fine dining restaurant. Sam took the time to come over and explain each dish between courses and we were able to ask questions if we had any. Every course was beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. You can tell that Sam put a lot of thought and effort into his menu.
As we moved along the menu, the dishes became even more mouth-watering. Fourth course was Lamb (cooked two ways) with an anchovy sauce, cavolo nero with lemon and capers, caramelised baby onions and smoked aubergine puree. Now I don’t actually like aubergine, but when Sam sent over the menu in advance I didn’t want to be ‘that person’ and remove it, so I trusted him and was right to. The whole thing was delicious and the flavours complemented each other perfectly.
Fifth course was Rib of Beef with Pomme Anna potatoes, carrot puree and a red wine Jus – delectable, then we had Blackberry tea panna cotta in little tea cups for desert.
La Belle Assiette is brilliant and we are already in talks with friends to host another get together (at their house this time). The food was amazing, the atmosphere relaxed and best of all it was all totally stress free. La Belle Assiette took all of the stress out of hosting a dinner party and we were able to enjoy award winning restaurant quality food from the comfort of our own home – without having to worry about a babysitter!
Sam was super friendly, dazzled us with his skills and left without a trace … did I mention he done the washing up? After dinner we were able to carry on with our evening without having to worry about tidying up, what more could you want from an evening with friends.
If you’d like to find out more, you can book a chef through La Belle Assiette here.
La Belle Assiette kindly asked us to host a validation dinner in exchange for a review As ever all views and opinions are my own.