I have been SO excited to post this! A few weekends ago I hosted my own dinner party with an amazing company called La Belle Assiette.
La Belle Assiette is a company who bring talented chefs into your kitchen so you can enjoy hosting dinners, without the stress of cooking or cleaning. Their community consists of 364 professional chefs of which you can review their experience and reputation. The menus are grouped into three clear price levels which are £39, £59, and £89 per person, which I don’t think are unreasonable at all! Before I was kindly contacted by La Belle, I had no idea this sort of thing was even a thing. I was instantly excited when an invitation pinged in my inbox to host a dinner party to try out their private chef service.
As the host, I invited 3 guests to the dinner and we got to enjoy the full private chef experience in my own home. I was instructed before the party that the chef would shop for ingredients, cook, serve and even clean up afterwards, leaving me and my guests to relax and enjoy the evening. I was also told this would be a ‘Validation Dinner’ which basically provides a new chef with an opportunity to showcase their skills, whilst being assessed by you and your guests.
I’ll be totally honest, I had NO idea what it expect. I organised the party on a sunny Saturday evening with three of my closest girly family friends. I was a bit apprehensive on the lead-up to the evening but once our chef arrived I was totally at ease.
Since I live in the North East, I was paired up with the local and truly wonderful Brian McElderry who is a highly experienced freelance chef. He’s had a very impressive career working in the likes of Saudi Arabia, France, Switzerland, Malta and Libya as well as cooking for highly prestigious family’s around the world. His varied career elevated him to an Executive Chef by the age of only 25! I’d liaised with Brian prior to the evening to discuss any dietary requirements and queries around the menu, he could not have been any more helpful, installing reassurance and anticipation for the evening!
Brian arrived two hours early on the evening of the party with his with lovely wife Anne, in order to prepare for the party to begin. We set our dining table up before they arrived but Anne kindly told me that they’d usually do that too. They literally have EVERYTHING covered. The couple were both charming, easy to talk to and myself plus my guest totally adored them.
Brian and Anne told us to sit back and relax, so we did. I left them to it in my kitchen and my guests began to unwind in the garden with a glass of fizz.
At around 7 pm Brian welcomed us into my dining area and introduced himself properly, telling us all about his career and experience which was fascinating. Brian is not only a chef but an entertainer too, he has lots of charisma and his energy is infectious! He talked us through the menu and introduced the starter which was Carrot and Coriander Soup. Brian describes his cooking style as honest and unpretentious and this dish was exactly that, simple, but done extremely well. The soup was absolutely divine, it was a flavour explosion in my mouth! Brian also prepared a selection of freshly made bread which was also delicious. I loved the mini pans it was served in too, very modern!
After a short wait, he then introduced our main courses which were for three of us Prime Northumberland Fillet Steak with a New York Style Garnish and for the pescetarian in the group Supreme Scottish Salmon with Spring Greens, New Potatoes, Basil and Coconut Cream. The steaks were to die for, so succulent and cooked to perfection. I choose a peppercorn sauce with mine which Brian made himself and it beautifully complemented the steak. The presentation was fantastic, I loved Brian’s creativity. The Salmon was so fresh and tender, working well with the coconut cream. I’m pretty sure we were all silent, except for making noises of delight as we tucked into our main course!
What I liked about the food was the portions, they weren’t too much but they were just enough. I hate feeling uncomfortably full meaning I can’t have dessert, luckily after this meal, I could still squeeze in a dessert.
After another short wait, Brian lastly introduced dessert which was Chocolate Textures. We weren’t sure what this was but it sounded great and we weren’t wrong. The textures were presented to a 5* standard, just look at them! They consisted of a homemade mousse, brownie and cheesecake, all of my favourite things. I’d have to say the mousse was my favourite, it was so thick and creamy which is how it should be! Bursting with cocoa!
Before we knew it, the end of the evening was near. Brian and Anne cleaned the kitchen and left it spotless, we were amazed. We didn’t want the couple to leave, they honestly felt like old friends! So much effort and thought had gone into the evening by Brian and Anne and it really showed, I can’t thank them both enough for making our night so special.
Genuinely, I could not recommend Brian and La Belle Assiette enough, not only is the evening completely stress-free, the food is seriously out of this world. Better than any restaurant I’ve ever been to that’s for sure. I can’t wait to plan another party with Brian and Anne, they’re an incredible duo!
All images shown were taken by the amazing Courtney Black.