My very own chef! For one night, anyway…
It feels like there’s something properly decadent about having a private chef. And, to be honest, it feels like something that’s a bit out of reach for the likes of me. But you know what? It’s really not. And it’s brilliant.
Luke Garnsworthy of LHK Catering is just that private chef. He turned up at the weekend — I was expecting him, obviously — with a tantalising box of goodies, then proceeded to shoo me out of my kitchen. Not before I’d grabbed the wine from the fridge, mind you…
Before we knew it, the table was laid, complete with menus, and there were the most delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. Luke, and his partner Fiona, were busy taking care of everything, while Mr C and our guests were chatting away over a glass of something lovely.
With Luke cooking, you’re getting the full benefit of his training as a chef with some serious names and in some serious kitchens — he’s worked for the likes of Marcus Wareing and Hestong Blumenthal, and at the Savoy Hotel. And this weekend, he was in my kitchen. I still can’t quite get my head around that, to be honest. As well as cooking for me, he’s carving out quite a name for himself locally, cooking up dinner parties all over the area from his base in Berkhamsted.
Keep an eye out, though — I managed to get a sneaky peek at his plans for the oh-so-exclusive private dining room that he’ll be opening and, while being sworn to secrecy, I can reveal that it’s going to be a very classy venue. Private dining for up to 10 guests? Exclusive tasting menus? A stonking wine list? And the chef right there, cooking in front of you? I’m looking forward to that…
Ok, so what was on the menu? We started off with pan-fried sea bass (yum!) with roasted cauliflower. At the risk of sounding like the grumpy one on Masterchef, there were loads of great flavours — perfectly cooked fish surrounded by subtle but sublime curried loveliness.
The main course was great, too. Super-tender pan-roasted chicken breast, with parsnip and grapes — with an unusual savoury ‘granola’ adding texture and taste. And there was something simply lovely about having someone else serve up all this deliciousness in our own home, at our own table, from our own kitchen. None of this racing around with a tea towel, trying to not spill things and to impress your guests at the same time as swearing loudly into the sauce. Nope. Just sitting, chatting, eating, drinking.
Pud is definitely my favourite course — and the properly-sized slice of lemon tart that appeared, as if by magic, was divine. I think it’s his signature dessert, and with good reason. It was perfect. In fact, all conversation stopped and all you could hear were murmurs of delight. Which is how every good dinner party should end, right?
Yes, it’s definitely a treat. But looking at how much you’ll pay for a 3-course meal like the one we had — which comes complete with service, no effort at all on your part, no need for a babysitter (ours were corralled upstairs), as well as a spotless kitchen with no washing up afterwards — it’s definitely comparable to a special evening out, coming in at around £40 a head.
So, maybe a private chef isn’t out of reach. Hoorah!