If you’ve ever watched MasterChef then you’ll be no stranger to the talents available in the world of private chefs. I always assumed this was only something for the rich and famous who owned their own yachts or mansions, but when I was contacted by the lovely people at La Belle Assiette I found out otherwise.

When offered the chance to host a dinner party at home with a private chef cooking for us and tidying up after, my reply was a no-brainer. The night I chose for our dinner party was the night before my husband’s birthday in January so it was the perfect opportunity. We invited 4 friends and asked them all to bring a bottle. After we set the date and invited our guests, all we needed to do was set the table and look forward to the feast!

Our chef, Chiara, was in contact with me before the agreed date to check if we had any dietary requirements and also run a suggested menu by me to check if it suited us. She informed me that dinner would be served at about 7.30pm and arrived an hour or so before this to set up and start getting prepared. All she needed from us was a bit of fridge space, some utensils and pans and our own cutlery and crockery. However, she cleaned everything up after and filled our dishwasher.

Our guests arrived and we sat and had a chat and drink while Chiara got on with the cooking. Soon our canapés appeared…

  • Quails eggs with gorgonzola, chestnut and port wine sauce
  • Gougères with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar caramelised shallots

These were both absolutely delicious and looked fabulous too. We then took our seats at our table and eagerly awaited what was next.

Chiara was great at explaining dishes as they came out and even took the time to tell us a bit about herself and background to explain her cooking style and menu choices.

As you can see, we actually just set up our dining table in our living room so you don’t need to have heaps of space to host a dinner party like this. Our living area is also open plan so Chiara was behind us cooking in the kitchen area while we chatted.

The starter of squid and potato warm salad with Ligurian olives was quite tasty and nicely presented.

The next course was black ravioli with squid and bacon. It was definitely eye-catching and Chiara explained to us why she kept the ravioli together rather than separating them out. The pasta was maybe a wee bit thick and it might have been nice to have a different meat as we’d had squid in the previous course (although I do love squid) but the addition of bacon was nice.

Next up was a sea bass turban with fresh herbs, olives and Mediterranean salad. Unfortunately, this was probably my least favourite course and could’ve done with some more seasoning and maybe a sauce. That said, we still all ate everything. The sea bass was actually cooked in a muffin tray which was a fun idea and different way of presenting it.

For me, the dessert was the star of the show! Cardamom pannacotta and chocolate semifreddo with Scottish strawberries coulis, toasted shortbread crumb and salty whisky butterscotch sauce – OMG the sauce! The whole dish was absolutely delicious and I could have eaten ten of them!

After the dessert, Chiara thanked us all and even gave my hubby a lovely bottle of wine for his birthday, which was incredibly sweet and touching of her. I had another chat with her then showed her out. The kitchen was absolutely spotless and there was nothing left for us to do but carry on with our party.

I think this is a great idea to get a group of friends over and probably pay less each than if you were to all go out to a restaurant. You can all just bring a bottle (or two) and the hosts can even change into their PJs mid-meal if desired – something you definitely couldn’t do if you were eating out! There are a variety of packages for different budgets:

  • Temptation: £39/guest
  • Prestige: £59/guest
  • Signature: £89/guest

Find out more about La Belle Assiette and view the different chef menus here.

Thanks again to Chiara for cooking for us and to La Belle Assiette for giving me this opportunity. It was a great way to kick off my husband’s birthday celebrations!

Disclaimer: Our private dining experience was complimentary but this did not sway my review at all. I was 100% honest and very grateful to have been given this opportunity.