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how many of you would have dinner parties at home if someone else were to cook?

(18 Posts)
helsi Wed 16-Feb-05 20:06:57

My dh is a chef (and a bloody good one at that). My question is, how luctrative do you think a business wold be if he were to offer to do dinner parties in peoples homes and clear up after himself.

I mean - how many times does the host spend every minute running too and from the kitchen drinking the same glass of wine all night.

Or would it be a case of if you don't want to cook go to a restaurant?

LGJ Wed 16-Feb-05 20:10:22

I know people who do this, but I for one would feel uncomfortable.

I get uptight when I have to leave a note for the cleaner FFS.

So having a expert in my kitchen would freak me out.

morningpaper Wed 16-Feb-05 20:10:32

I think this is not an uncommon business - do a google search and I'm sure you'll see people who do this, and you might get an idea of what they charge.

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 20:17:29

I wouldn't be keen. Several reasons: 1. I like cooking 2. If I wanted a really special meal I would probably go out to a restaurant 3. When I do have a dinner party (dredging memory to recall last one) I tend to cook things that can mostly be prepared in advance so I don't spend all night in the kitchen! 4. I wouldn't be happy having a stranger in my kitchen - cooking and clearing up, I would feel quite uncomfortable.

Though I'm sure it would appeal to some people I imagine it would be quite tough on your dh too - cooking in someone else's kitchen is a nightmare - different types of oven and hob etc. Plus horrible customers - being finickity about what he'd cooked (my uncle is a head chef and I've heard some horror stories!) I guess he would take some of his own equipment - knives etc. but would he take everything or use their pans, dishes etc. What if they didn't have the right number of plates, serving dishes etc?

I would be more inclined to use one of those services where beautifully prepared meals were delivered to my door I think (like the MN competition) than actually have someone cooking in my house.

Sorry, I sound really negative don't I? Is he fed up of chef hours/wanting to run his own business?

SenoraPostrophe Wed 16-Feb-05 20:22:59

I have a friend who did this, but stopped (due to other things, not because there wasn't enough work). It's a good idea and can work if you get the marketing right, but running a business, any business, is a lot of work (advertising, chasing payments, accounts etc).

I would consider being a customer: maybe just for a main course and i'd cook the pudding. i like cooking too but it's hard with a demon midget attached to your leg all day (hard to get out of the house too).

helsi Wed 16-Feb-05 20:24:15

Yes he is fed up plus what he gets paid working for someone else especially with his talent is wasted. He is a Head Chef and sooo talented (I'm not just saying that). He would ideally love his own catering business supplying the food at weddings, christening, parties etc. We have all the equipment here (its all in mums garage and in spare room, loft etc). He can even supply, glasses, table linen - evrything basically. He can do basic buffet to more adventurous dishes.

We did a tapas night for a friends 40th last year (just me and him) which went sown really well and he is also a trained sushi chef. He can do most things.

we work well together too and he wouldn't over charge as he knows just how much these other businesses add on!

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 20:24:58

Kick the demon midget off and lock in the cupboard under the stairs, SP, that's what I do.

SenoraPostrophe Wed 16-Feb-05 20:31:58

The thing is, helsi, the add on charges are generally what covers expenses like transport, accountants, advertising etc.

He can come and cook tapas at my house whenever he likes though (he can pay his own air fare tho).

Mm - no cupboard under the stairs unfortunately. My best strategy is to sit him near the cat flap with a huge pile of small items. Sometimes i can get an omlette done that way!

CarrieG Wed 16-Feb-05 20:32:39

I wouldn't, because I like cooking, & if I'm having mates round it's more likely to be a lasagne & salad then drink till collapse type of evening, but I know there's a demand for it - our regular taxi driver does bespoke Indian dinner parties as his other job!

I might go for it for a buffet though - I did one for our last big party & tbh it would've been nice not to have spent hours faffing about with quiches before guests arrived.

If your dh is offering a range of services ie. buffet to posh dinner party, I think it could work really well - if you've got the gear already it's not as if you'd have massive start up costs, just a bit of advertising?

helsi Wed 16-Feb-05 20:33:47

Most of the add ons are for the companies pockets not for overheads. I suppose they do have to make money though - gosh its hard deciding which way to go. Such a gamble.

suedonim Wed 16-Feb-05 21:37:54

My ds lives in California and it's common to employ caterers for parties etc. You can buy in meals from virtually any restaurant, too. I think it's brilliant - I don't like cooking and would love this sort of service.

Beetroot Wed 16-Feb-05 21:41:06

Message withdrawn

marthamoo Wed 16-Feb-05 23:55:34

Watching Desperate Housewives tonight where the dh of one of the main characters sprung a dinner party for 6 work colleagues on her at less than 48 hours' notice made me think yes, maybe there is a demand for this If I had a dh liable to do this (actually he did once, but I made lasagne and bought a pudding in M&S) and I was working full-time then maybe I woudl think differently.

ChicPea Thu 17-Feb-05 01:07:01

Where do you live and what would your DH charge for a dinner party for say 10-20 guests? Roughly.(I have dinner parties where I don't cook).

Beetroot Thu 17-Feb-05 23:16:06

Message withdrawn

ChicPea Fri 18-Feb-05 00:31:13

Oh Beetroot. We live in London. Finaly found the eye surgeon's details. Posted his phone number on the the other thread. HTH.

nikkim Fri 18-Feb-05 00:43:01

I wouldn't like this as I love to cook, for me that is a major reason for having a dinner party.

However I have been to a number of dinner parties where the food has been prepared by a chef so it must be growing in popularity. there must be people who love to eat god food, but don't always want to go to a restaurant and can't cook themselves.

suzywong Fri 18-Feb-05 00:45:38

I used to offer this service when I was catering. It worked a bit, but not as well as I had thougt. With hindsight I don't think the dining I offered was as fine as was expected so a bloody good chef would be great.
Howevere I think it depends where you are based. In North London excellent restaurants are everywhere and most people's kitchens are really rather small so having someone else in them makes the hostess not to mention the guests feel cramped no matter how much prep you do before and how discreet you are.

Then there was the bloke who had cooke a salmon in his dishwasher the day before the perfume of which permeated all the crockery and the entire house and did not really compliment the atmosphere.

Also, and there have been threads on this, most MC people feel uncomfortable about dealing with their cleaners so dealing with a chef would be a nightmare for them.

Your dh sounds ideally placed to set up his own catering business, get in touch with local venues first rather than trying to gather clients as venues who don't have a kitchen on the premises often recommend the caterers. Go for that first, and then private dinner parties will be a spin-off.

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