Private chef at home? It’s more affordable than you might think
10 June 2019
La Belle Assiette
Britain is a country whose reputation for culinary excellence is growing rapidly. On average, 10% of our household expenditure goes on eating out or takeaway food, official figures say. But now there’s an alternative to eating restaurant-quality food out. And it doesn’t involve food being delivered or rushed home before foil containers get cold.
La Belle Assiette – meaning beautiful plate
The service enables you to browse through menus offered by hundreds of chefs. You book one for the time and place you want and that’s about it.
The chef brings all necessary ingredients, prepares the meal in your kitchen, serves each dish, and does the washing up before leaving. There’s no nipping off mid-conversation to turn the oven down. No monitoring your alcohol intake so you don’t forget dessert. And no Himalayan-sized heap of washing up awaiting the morning afterwards.
Like DS Automobiles, La Belle Assiette was founded in Paris but in 2013. It now has subsidiaries in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and launched in the UK in 2015. Head of UK operations Gianluca Bucci says business is going from strength to strength: “In the past, hiring a private chef was a very niche thing to do because people thought it would be too expensive,” he reveals.
Customers with La Belle Assiette can book three tiers of meal. Temptation is £39 per person; Prestige £59 per person; and Signature, which promises Michelin-starred quality food, is a minimum £89 per person. They’re restaurant prices but the food on offer looks mouth-watering for the imagination, ingredients and preparation that goes into it.
Scrolling through the list of delicacies on offer is like listening to an episode of TV’s MasterChef
Which is hardly surprising as some of the 364 chefs on La Belle Assiette’s platform have appeared on the show. However, anyone who’s cringed while the chefs’ best efforts are torn apart by the judges will understand that a TV appearance is no guarantee of quality. La Belle Assiette’s strict process of vetting every chef it represents goes some way to addressing this.
Gianluca Bucci explains: “All our chefs go through a stringent validation process by cooking their menu for our jury of professional food journalists. We choose the price range the chefs can operate in and if they want access to our platform, they must really wow the jury. If they’re not up to scratch we ask them to work on their menu. Depending on how they do with the Temptation tier, they might be able to unlock access to the price range above.”
Although the world of private chefs is a select one, it’s becoming increasingly popular. Bucci says: “Initially our two co-founders realised that there was nothing that allowed chefs to get new clients. We’ve found more and more chefs want to work privately, dealing with their clients themselves. And of course, the benefit for customers is they’re entertaining at home with their own timing, music and drinks but with restaurant quality food.”
If you’re concerned that your kitchen and its utensils aren’t up to scratch, don’t worry. La Belle Assiette chefs bring everything they need to cook their meal. And chefs being chefs, many bring their own basic equipment too. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy what they prepare. And judging by the maximum star ratings that people who’ve used the service give, you won’t be disappointed.