La Belle Assiette is a French start-up that recently launched in London, through our website one is able to book a chef that will come to your home with all the ingredients they need to cook a delicious meal. They will cook in your kitchen, serve each dish to you and make sure the kitchen is left sparkling before leaving. Simply allowing you to enjoy the company of your guests.
How fantastic does that sound? When I was asked if I would like to host a test dinner for La Belle Assiette I entered my postcode into their website with some trepidation. Would a London based French company really have chefs in Aberdeenshire? I was thrilled to discover that they do with Rupert and Louisa who met while teaching at London's Leiths School of Food and Wine recently relocating to the area.
A date was chosen, menu provided and guests invited. Rupert gave me a quick call to introduce himself, confirm timings and ask a wee bit about my kitchen and what equipment I had available. I'm pretty well kitted out kitchen wise but no worries if your kitchen is on the small side. In that case the chef will prepare most of the work in advance and finalise the dishes at your home. Similarly if you lack any equipment the Chef will bring it.
It felt rather surreal to be expecting guests to arrive for dinner but not having done any planning, preparation or cooking. I kept forgetting that it was happening! Pretty much all I had to do in advance was clean and tidy the kitchen (as much for the benefit of the chefs and photographer as my guests!!), look out cutlery and crockery and organise the drinks.
Flatbreads with beetroot, smoked mackerel and dill
It was lovely to be able to spend time with my guests when they arrived rather than constantly popping back and forth to the kitchen to check on the food. Pre dinner drinks of Heather Mule from Tipplebox were quaffed and it was time to be seated at the dining table. Again it was a novelty to not have to sit in the chair that provided easiest access to the kitchen. As barman for the night Foodie Loon was of course positioned to give him best access to the drinks as Rupert & Louisa served up our dinner and introduced each dish.
Scallops with black pudding and cauliflower
Chicken with Jersey Royals, asparagus and broad beans
Creme caramel with Sauterne jelly and golden raisins
The whole meal was absolutely delicious and stunning to look at. A real fine dining experience in my own home. It worked particularly well because my dining kitchen gave a real chefs table experience. A little more interaction with chefs would have made the evening even more special and slightly more time between courses would have been better but the actual food could not be faulted. I did feel rather guilty when it came to the washing up. The promise from La Belle Assiette is that "your kitchen will be left sparkling". I had to sheepishly explain to Rupert & Louisa that unfortunately our dishwasher was broken and the repair man wasn't coming until Monday. I did however provide a pair of Marigolds. It's glamour all the way in the world of a private chef!
All photos within this post are by Liana Mitrea Photography.