Casual Dining

Dinner Party with a Private Chef and La Belle Assiette – by Lauren Heath


As you will have gathered, we’re very lucky and privileged to enjoy eating out around Devon, but we are also fairly good cooks at home. I’m not too precious about my kitchen though…. if someone wants to cook for me then go for it. I’ll eat it. Anything. (Well, except for olives and goats cheese; I can hear your shock but I’ve tried many a time, I promise).

Anyway…I received an email from La Belle Assiette offering up an evening involving a private chef in my home – yes please! Considering we have a child who, although is very well behaved in restaurants, I thought how nice it would be to enjoy some great food cooked by someone else in the comfort of our own home. He could run off in between courses and return for the good stuff!

I was connected with one of their talented chefs in the South West with a pretty pedigree background including La Manoir aux Quatre Saison. No, it wasn’t Monsieur Raymond Blanc sadly, but certainly a fine alternative by the name of Dave Watts.

LBA-Dave Watts (37 of 37)

After a few emails between Dave and I regarding menu options, including one or two very specific requests by me for my guests and some adjustments to cater for my 8-year-old son, the menu was finalised. All I needed was to invite my dinner guests and let Dave do the rest.

Dinner was set for a Friday evening, and even though I work full time, this worked perfectly as all I had to do was get home, and freshen up, whilst Dave arrived with his giant box of tricks and got prepping.

My guests arrived and we cracked on with the wine and the conversation. We were also joined by young photographer and filmmaker Harrison Willmott, (aka Hazmus) thanks to it being part of the blogger offering from La Belle Assiette. Although not part of a real booking, this ensured that I, as a blogger, could enjoy the evening as any normal guest, with Hazmus taking care of the ‘evidence’ for the blog, so all these lovely photos are courtesy of him.

The evening was such a success; I enjoyed entertaining my friends in my own home without a single worry. Dave introduced each of the courses as he served them up as well and then carried on with his preparation for the next course.

Our four delicious courses covered so many flavours, and textures and included…

Sea bream tartar, shellfish, and citrus quinoa dressing
LBA-Dave Watts (12 of 37)
Wild seabass Ceviche, shallots, chives and pickled cucumber
LBA-Dave Watts (22 of 37)
Pan fried guinea fowl, roasted gem lettuce and peas Parisienne
LBA-Dave Watts (31 of 37)

Chocolate torte, berries and cherries, raspberry Chantilly

LBA-Dave Watts (33 of 37)

We enjoyed fresh, zingy, crunchy, gamey and sweet – a varied yet well-balanced menu. The standard was high, and all this in my own kitchen.

I knew my son wouldn’t have enjoyed the cured fish items (but why should us adults miss out and change the whole menu) so Dave cooked him a fillet with his two favourite veg items.

LBA-Dave Watts (15 of 37).jpg

Dave was focussed and discreet, yet he knew when to join in and laugh with us (definitely chuckling under his apron a few times when we’d consumed more wine much later on, and talked nonsense I presume) and tidied up after himself along the way.

He really did leave the kitchen as he found it, perhaps a little cleaner actually. The website offers up many a South West chef for your choosing, with background information, their style of cooking and a few other informative morsels including reviews so you can choose the right chef for you and your guests. Prices are around £39 per head – if you don’t think you have the budget for such an event, how about considering that, instead of meeting friends at a restaurant, you all pay for your dinner as normal but instead you get to enjoy it at a friends house and maybe even sleepover – no one has to drive home then and you really can have a relaxed evening!

It was a fantastic evening with very tasty food and a great way to host a group of friends without the stress of timings and talking with your back to them whilst you slave over the heat.

lba-dave-watts-35-of-37.jpg

Dave Watts profile on LaBelle Assiette can be viewed here.

Visit La Belle Assiette and book your relaxed culinary evening at your home (or a friends house, holiday cottage…the possibilities are endless) by visiting their website. With prices around £39 per head for 4 courses, it’s a fantastic way to enjoy superb food without stepping out the front door.

Dining in could well be the new dining out.

*This service was provided complimentary but all views are my own and I would absolutely book this service again*

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