How would you like to see this in your kitchen?.
This is my very own chef Marcello Farioli, cooking dinner for me and a couple of friends last week. While this cooking was happening we were enjoying ourselves. Here’s what it looks like while you are chatting and a chef is cooking in your kitchen.
It’s a great experience that anyone can have for a very reasonable amount of money. Marcello and a whole lot of other chefs work part time cooking in peoples homes. It’s a new concept that has been started up by Renee Tng with website Hello Chef. When she first contacted me I was very excited about the idea. There are so many possibilities for both chefs and their customers, because its kind of a meeting place for those who cook and those that need a bit of cooking done!. That means you can contact a chef and they can cook dinner at your house and conversely a chef might put a call out for anyone that wants to join in a pop up dinner …perhaps at their house or at another venue. Its a win win.
There are all kinds of cooks on her website and loads more signing up all the time. It’s basically a website where you can go to find a chef or a cook to suit your event.
This is an initiative to introduce a new and unique dining experience to Sydney. Hello Chef aims to make the private dining experience accessible and affordable for all, and also allow fellow Sydneysiders to enjoy meals prepared by their favourite Chefs in the comfort of their own homes and allows chefs to create and work outside of the confines of everyday work. If you have you ever tried to find a caterer that will cook for a small group, or that understands that you want more then a spit roast and a bowl of coleslaw then this is for you. This is how Renee explains it:
We are a community of Chefs and passionate home cooks in Sydney you can hire to bring restaurant quality food to your next dinner party at home. We also follow a Supper-club concept, in which we allow diners to make dinner reservations at their favourite Chef’s private residences.
So I offered to test out the service. All in the name of food, do you hear?
Once I had chosen a chef and a menu. I consulted with Renee via email about the dietary restrictions of one of my guests. She checked with Marcello and he was more than happy to adjust the menu to suit. So we went ahead. Once you have booked and agreed on your needs you pay through the website and then you sit back and enjoy.
I spoke to Marcello in person, and asked a few questions, but apart from that, the chef will turn up cook, clear and do the dishes. If you want they can match wine to your meal, have them bring along cutlery, plates or glassware or even help you set up, all are possibilities.
I don’t have a kitchen suitable for this kind of night, I have no dishwasher and little bench space so friends of mine volunteered their kitchen. She had a menu printed and emptied the kitchen benches and at 5.30pm Marcello turned up with his own fridge, and his food prep.
And us…..well we sat back and really enjoyed.
We nibbled on a little antipasto, and drank Champagne, wandered around the garden, looked at pictures and generally did something you don’t always do when you have a dinner party. We relaxed, while Marcello prepared the entree and then asked if we’d like to eat.
We sat down to fresh warm bread and were as excited as children at a fun park. Marcello served each of us, and before tucking in we toasted our good fortune. The starter was Cured Ocean Trout with an Apple and Beetroot Salad, baby herbs and a pungent peppery Canberra Olive Oil. Marcello explained how he cured it with spices, sugar and salt, then sliced it thinly. It was firm and silky so noticeably fresh that there was little talk till plates were only half full.
How quickly does time go when you are having a good time, when no one has to get up and miss the conversation, when no one has to stir a pot, set out the plates or clear the table? It’s ridiculously wonderful. I could get used to this. In fact it is scary how quickly I did.
The dishes had been cleared and packed into the dishwasher and before we knew it Marcello asked us if we would like to have our main course.
Slow cooked Lamb Shoulder
Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Amaranth Salad and Gremolata
Heirloom Tomato Salad with herbs and Balsamic dressing.
I loved the elegant way the Slow cooked Lamb shoulder was presented in a neat bundle that broke apart with a fork. The amaranth, a gluten free seed a little like millet contained brunoise of herbs and vegetables that introduced all kinds of textures and a hint of spice, while the gremolata was a soft lemony friend that had no jarring notes. The tomato salad was summer on a plate. A confident tangle of perfect heirloom tomatoes with herbs. We were happy, in fact very happy. We invited Marcello to come and sit with us while we talked about restaurants and chefs and restaurant people we had worked with before middle age set in.
And then just like that, all things important come to pass, and it was time for dessert. The dessert was seasonal and very simple. Plump ripe Figs with Sour Cream Ice Cream and Saba (reduced grape juice). I am a tragic pastry/ cake fiend, but this dessert suited the season and the mood and we all ate every bite.
This is the kind of service that you need to tell your friends about. Know someone that entertains for work?. Do you have friends that are always looking for caterers?.
This dinner cost around $80 a head, but their are varying prices on the website. Bare in mind that for this price all you need to do is choose what you would like and somebody does all the work for you, shopping, cooking, worrying and the dishes.
Hello chef is also expanding to other parts of Australia. New chefs are being signed up all the time. Are you looking for a Master chef? Yep, they have them too. If you are in another state and would like to use this service contact them through the website.
Marcello Farioli, our Chef for the night
This story was posted with the support of hellochef.com.au. Opinions are entirely our own. We were all very pleased with the food and the service