Something incredibly exciting happened last week. I hosted my first dinner party for friends and I felt like a proper grown up. I had been talking about having a dinner party to Ed since we moved in two years ago but we never got around to it. After La Belle Assiette, an online private chef company, got in touch asking if I would be interested in hosting a validation dinner for their newest recruit, I knew I had to take them up on the offer.
The chef, Jilly, has spent the past few years working on super yachts out in the mediterranean but is now back in England running Jilly’s Kitchen and from the moment we started speaking over email about my upcoming meal, I could tell she was both a talented chef and a lovely person. Nothing was too much trouble. When I explained that one of our guests was a vegetarian who also couldn’t eat dairy, Jilly happily adapted the menu accordingly and also swapped out everybody else’s Venison for Lamb after I explained that it didn’t agree with Ed.
Jilly sent across the full menu in advance for me to see and was happy to answer any additional questions. She advised that she would be bringing with her all the food and plates, and that I would just need to have cutlery, drinks and glasses. The La Belle Assiette concierge team was also on hand in the lead up to the meal, sending across emails and ensuring our guests confirmed their attendance via email. I was able to see information on Jilly herself via the website, as well as examples of her dishes, so I knew we would be in for a treat on the night.
Jilly arrived at 6pm, two hours prior to the dinner. She set about getting everything ready in the kitchen whilst Ed and I finished getting ready for our guests and enjoying a drink, safe in the knowledge that everything was being taken care of for us. My mum had the children for us so we were properly able to relax and enjoy the experience. When our guests arrived we could continue chatting and catching up, with Jilly handling everything in the kitchen.
At 8pm Jillly let us know that she was ready when we were if we wanted to take our seats around the table and she served the first course – Chorizo Scotch Quails Egg. They were delicious! Our guest with special dietary requirements had mushroom in place of chorizo, and also enjoyed it.
For our second course, served to us at the table by Jilly, we had Beetroot Tart with Aioli . The third, main course was the lamb with cauliflower, dukkah and lamb jus.
For our fourth course we had a palette cleansing green apple sorbet followed by mulled fruits with cinnamon ice cream and finished off with an absolutely incredible dark chocolate fudge, which I could have happily eaten more of, they were beautiful!
Our friend on a vegetarian and dairy free diet found the menu inclusive, rather than restrictive. Jilly adapted the ingredients for most courses allowing her to eat the same as us and the for the other courses she had a replicated dish made with different ingredients. She also had her own menu provided on the night to refer to and Jilly was fantastic at explaining how each of the dishes were prepared and which ingredients she used for them, providing total reassurance.
It was so lovely to be able to sit with our guests and properly enjoy the evening without the need to run backwards and forwards from the kitchen. Each course was served to us and cleared away, allowing both Ed and I to properly relax and be in the moment. Jilly even washed up and cleaned away everything after herself so I had nothing to do at the end of the night other than load the glasses into the dishwasher.
I will 100% be looking to hire a private chef the next time we host a dinner party as it was totally luxurious and hassle free. The only thing I would say is that if you don’t have a cleaner, make sure you set aside enough time to get your house in order, especially if you have children as we do. It obviously isn’t a requirement as such, but it is important that the kitchen is clear and relatively clean and tidy for the chef to be able to work in it, and as I am quite house proud I spent a good two days properly clearing and tidying up the whole downstairs area ready for the dinner party.
If you are interested in hiring a private chef for your next party, gathering or family get-together, visit their website to take a look at chefs available in your area. The pricing is really easy to understand, and there are options to suit your budget as well as reviews and photos from previous occasions to give you peace of mind.
The private chef service through La Belle Assiette with Jilly’s Kitchen UK was provided complimentary for the purpose of review, however all words are my own. Images are a mixture of my own and those taken by the photographer on the evening Paul – Oak Photography.