A Chef-ing Great Night In | EatAbout, Featuring MasterChef Finalist Emma Spitzer
We have never been to a supper club at someone’s home. It’s never really appealed, you’re putting yourself in the hands of the Gods when it comes to the seating plan. You run the very real risk of being sat next to someone who you have little in common with, making excruciating small talk for two or so hours.
But the chaps at EatAbout have come up with a genius idea and it’s not a supper club! EatAbout have found the chefs (or extremely competent home cooks) and these chefs have the space and the personalities to host you and a group of your friends/colleagues. All you have to do is turn up!
OK, there’s a little more too it than that. You can choose from over twenty chefs, serving anything from Michelin starred quality right through to authentic Aztec cuisine. The website makes it so easy to book too – pick a chef, choose a location, pick a style of food, say how many are going and pay (the price per head even decreases the more of you who attend). Simples!
There are so many benefits of this style of dining. Here are just a few!
1) Your flat/house doesn’t have room to host a diner party? Take the party elsewhere.
2) You’re not that good a cook? Let an expert do the hard work for your. They even dress the table for you.
3) There’s NO washing up, enough said.
4) It’s amazingly good value. There are not the overheads that restaurants have, so costs are kept low whilst quality is as good (if not better) than at some eateries. Remember, the chef’s also cooking in their own kitchen, so they know exactly where everything is and how everything works.
5) You can work with the chef to personalise the menu (within reason) and any dietary requirements can be sorted out. So very handy if one of you has, for example, an allergy to dairy.
6) You can bring your own booze (or soft drinks), so there’s not that huge mark up on wine – no longer will you have to pay £2.50 for a can of Coke! The chefs also recommend suggested wines that go with the meal, so YOU can fake it, bring out your inner sommelier and impress your friends.
7) Finally, and for me most importantly, you get to choose who you get to spend the evening with – result!
Co-founder Phillip first came up with the idea whilst horse riding in Mongolia, (as you do), so he and his best buddy Felix decided that four hands are better than two and left his job to work on the project full time. Felix told us: ‘We at EatAbout come to work every day because we want to redefine the restaurant eating experience. We provide an alternative to restaurants by helping chefs and passionate home cooks host guests for private meals in their home.’
Well that’s more than enough of the theory. Does Felix and Phillip’s idea really work? We were lucky enough to test-run the first ever EatAbout event and what better chef to put through their paces than a MasterChef finalist – Emma Spitzer. To be honest, Emma was our favourite contestant and we were rooting for her to win – we adored her down to earth attitude and her no-nonsense cooking style.
Her lovely spacious house was in Saff’s old stomping ground of East Finchley, so really easy to get to from central London. We were a little worried that turning up en masse to a stranger’s house would be a little awkward. But no, Emma made us immediately feel relaxed and at home (albeit her home).
Whilst Emma made some finishing touches in her kitchen we all cracked open a bottle of Prosecco. The table was set beautifully, simple yet elegant. As I sat sipping my bubbles, I took in a little more of Emma’s decor – family photos hung on the wall, a cat prowled about, there was a little Wendy house and a child size play kitchen, but where were her four young children? After a little chat with Emma we discovered that they were all tucked up in bed, bribed with the promise of a double dose of ice-cream. You certainly wouldn’t get that level of interaction with the chef in a restaurant, just one more little detail that made the evening so special.
Great value (in this case, £50 per head), a great host and a great location. But you can’t eat any of that, so what was the meal actually like? As you would expect from a MasterChef finalist, it was bloody lovely!
The amuse-bouche of Curried humous, cauliflower and cashews was incredible. I would have been happy with this as the starter, a subtle combo of over ten spices really kick-started our taste buds. But then the starter appeared and wow! A ‘Celebration’ of beetroot with burrata (fresh from Emma’s supplier and direct from Puglia that morning). The burrata took me right back to our time in southern Italy, how I wish we’d brought a bottle of Primitivo to enhance those memories. As Saff can’t eat burrata, Emma knocked up a fab labneh – sans cheese.
The main event was pan-seared sea bass with chermoula over spiced chickpeas with roasted tomato and shallots. As regular readers know, I’m not a big fan of fish but this was so delicate and flavoursome. Saff even ate the skin. She never eats the skin. The grande finale – Salted caramel and chocolate pot with crème fraiche, another stroke of genius. So gooey, so melt in the middle, so where’s another one? If that wasn’t enough, Emma then spoilt us a little more by bringing out a little tray of chocolate and chopped date truffles and a glass of Morrocan mint tea.
The evening had absolutely flown by, the sign of a good time, three and a half hours had gone in a flash. Judging by the amount of likes on Saff’s picture of Emma serving up dinner on her personal Facebook page, it looks like many of our friends might be up for an evening like this too.
Now you tell me, when’s the last time you spent that long in a restaurant, had a high quality three-course meal (with extras) and only spent £50? Thought so. All in all a total success, almost perfect for EatAbout‘s first attempt. So what would have made it perfect? A chauffeur driven car home, that’s what.
Book a meal with Emma Spitzer here
We ate as guests of EatAbout, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.