What the Fork?
Okay, so something wild happened to us recently. We didn’t go out. We went in. Hosting a chef at home experience with La Belle Assiette was well and truly the best way to celebrate a great year. And the best part? He did the dishes. Can we keep him? La Belle Assiette, based in Paris, is an online booking system which allows you to book your own private chef at home experience. They have over 700 chefs in 6 countries. And one of those marvellous countries is Scotland. And if you hadn’t already noticed, we are just a wee bit keen on Scotland.
We held our dinner in the Highlands at one of our friends’ houses. Mostly because those friends have cattle. And I don’t know the script with cattle, but I’m pretty sure you can’t take them to Cruden Bay. And then there’s the worry that they might not fit in the garden. It was much easier for us to head up North, see the family, kill 2 stones with one bird etc etc.
The Great Pretender
Honestly, I felt a little daunted at hosting my first chef at home experience. One thing I absolutely hate in any human is pretence. Scott and I live The Aye Life, but we are always completely and sometimes too honest about our experiences. We are both normal (that part is questionable) humans who just happen to live a slightly whacky lifestyle.
I think things were made worse because we weren’t even hosting a La Belle Assiette chef in our own home, we were hosting in someone elses. I had visions of the chef breaking the grill or cracking eggs on the dogs head. And I could see myself hiding in the fields with the cattle.
But none of that happened. In fact, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The evening could not have been more relaxed. As one of the guests so appropriately said “dining in is the new dining out, but better.” But how does it work? Was the chef any good? Should I hire him? Is it going to cost me a fortune? I’ve got a food intolerance, can they cater for me? Do they cater for kids? Well, my little turkeys, I am the ho ho ho in the know.
You Can’t Buy this Ambience
We spent the evening with our lovely friends at Ostara Skincare. And it wasn’t long before we were all in the festive spirit. Quite literally. Gin, Prosecco, Champagne, Guinness. It was certainly a Highland celebration if ever I saw one. We all sat by the fire whilst the chef held fort in the kitchen. We’d just about finished our first gin when he popped out with some beautiful canapes for us. He had made both normal and dairy free canapes to cater to all, which was greatly appreciated. Pâté on crackers with quails egg, cheese puff pastries, and smoked salmon roulades. All of which barely seen the plates before the evidence was gone. Plus, the canapes helped to soak up the pre-starter gin-dulgence.
Start Me Up
I have eaten so many scallops this year. Like, 2018 has been the year of the scallop. Because Scott refuses point blank to order the same as me, he hasn’t had one scallop all year. So when the starter was decided as West Coast Scallops with black pudding, caramelised apple, and cider sauce, Scott’s face was angel delight. The scallops were a hit with everyone. Scallop and black pudding is a winning combination, top that with some apple and you’ve some serious stuff right there.
Our chef Lee Beale, catered to our younger guest with child-friendly munch, even though she dipped her fingers in the adult scran and seemed to enjoy that also. Sign of a good chef or sign of a mature palette?
The Main Offender
Oh. my. days. Being honest, I wasn’t entirely sure whether I’d be enamoured with our choice of main. Seabass with steamed vegetables and a chive and mussel broth. And I wasn’t just enamoured, I was quite literally turned on. I’m hoping that I can pin chef Lee down and extract this recipe because it seems, for the most part, quite healthy. Which is following the trend of not letting Aye 2.0 touch any of the healthy stuff in the freezer because I’m saving it for January.
Chef at Home Experience
I want to be a millionaire, but for now, I’ll stick to cheesecake. The millionaire cheesecake was light and fluffy and the perfect way to end a beautiful meal. This went down well with everyone. But the whole meal went down well with everyone.
We didn’t have ages to wait between courses. Lee arrived at 6pm for prep whilst we tippled merrily in the sitting room, scoffing canapes. The first course was served at 7.30pm and Lee was away by 9pm, leaving behind a tidy kitchen and 6 full bellies.
I couldn’t recommend a chef at home experience more. £39 per head for 3 courses! Considering the chef comes to your home, cooks and cleans up after him, without all the waiting around you would get in a restaurant, this price is fantastic! All you need to do is pop onto La Belle Assiette and pick your location, date and time. The chef will then agree on a menu with you if you haven’t already picked one online.
We all thought Lee was a great chef. His passion for local produce is evident and he spoke of dishes he hopes to work on in the future. He was professional, helpful and was more than willing to cater to everyone. He stayed for a few moments at the end of the meal whilst the poor man got 72 questions from 5 boozy Highlanders. If you’re looking to try your own chef at home experience in the Highlands, have a look at Lees profile here.