I’m back! I’ve got an exciting announcement to make later in January about why I’ve been pretty MIA on here for the past couple of months, but part of the reason was because I’ve just finished up a part-time course at Leiths, which is super exciting as I can now work as a private chef!
I was doing that alongside my 9-to-5, and another big project I’ve been working on for the blog – but now those are finished up, I’m really looking forward to spending some time here again.
Part of my motivation for starting up at Leiths was to get a firm grounding in food. I’ve been writing about it for a while now, and wanted to get a professional qualification, as well as get a firmer grounding in the practical stuff so I can explore projects further that people have approached me for in the past, like supper clubs. The only thing that was holding me back was my lack of practical experience, and I definitely feel the last few months have given me that.
It was so serendipitous when La Belle Assiette got in touch to see if I wanted to do a review of their service, cause it ties those two parts of my life together so perfectly.
La Belle Assiette connects people with private chefs, who come to their home and cater for them for dinner parties, at various price ranges. There are so many different cuisines too, meaning you can experiment with different flavours and textures in the comfort of your own home! I hosted a dinner party at mine, inviting five friends over for a home-cooked meal (which required minimal effort on my part)!
I was paired up with Katrina Kollegaeva, who used to run the Russian Revels supper club that I’d heard so much about, so I was really excited. A couple of weeks before, she gave me a ring to chat through the menu and find out about my likes and dislikes, and those of my guests. I’m pretty easy, but one of my guests really dislikes seafood, and she was so fantastic about accomodating.
She comes from an Estonian and Ukrainian background, and I was really keen to try some of her dishes that also played with her love of Middle Eastern cooking as well.
She served up a delicious feast of:
Fermented lardo on biscuit
Which we had accompanied by a shot of chilled vodka, on her suggestion.
Coming from a Japanese family, I always prefer to eat family-style, rather than having individual plates, so for our main we had a selection of dishes to share, which were all incredibly delicious (so good I even chased her for the recipes afterwards, which isn’t something I usually do)!
Lithuanian carrot baba dip with pumpkin and dukkah
Russian pirozhki mushroom pies
Courgette caviar of a swooning bride, which was a gently cooked aubergine dish that was incredible
A Georgian beetroot and lamb bake with a rye and walnut crumble
Buckouleh, which she described as being like tabbouleh, but made with buckwheat.
Towards the end of the meal, Katrina mentioned that she had made quite a bit of the dessert, and that we would most definitely have some leftover. What I didn’t think she accounted for was just how good it was, and how greedy we all are, and ended up eating it all up that night – the condensed milk and caramelised rye ice cream was divine.
I really, really enjoyed my experience with La Belle Assiette from start to finish, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to host a dinner party – it was absolutely seamless. I definitely recommend Katrina, who was so knowledgable and professional, and was also a lovely addition to the evening.