La Belle Assiette Private Dining Experience With Chef Ivan Duchene.
Take one extrodinarily experienced creative French chef, four servings of exceptional food and six helpings of fabulous friends, then you can guarantee that it is going to be a recipe for a successful culinary evening.
La Belle Assiette is a private dining company who’s portfolio includes cooking for many European clients as well as operating in the UK with over 550 registered chefs. I have been aware of the company for some time now and when I was approached to write a review for one of their private chef experiences in the Cheshire area, I did not have to think twice about it.
The experience of the chefs within the company is diverse, boasting a wide range of experience and skills ranging from those who have worked in Michelin-starred restaurants such as French chef, Ivan Duchene (who cooked for us), those that have graduated from hospitality management schools or simply chefs with enthusiasm and passion to expand a career in cooking.
Reflecting on our dining experience, this is how the night panned out.
My excitement rose in eagerness of the forthcoming chef experience at home, and so did my preparation to ensure that the evening went without a hitch. I knew what my biggest challenge was going to be though, which involved my three young children.
Lavish dinner parties and small children do not go hand in hand as I quickly found out. As the arrival time of chef Ivan neared, so too did the energy levels of my three little darlings! The youngest decided to use the full staircase as a slide repeatedly minutes before the chef arrived, middle child decided that now was the perfect time to also pretend to be a rock star, thank goodness for the meek and mild eight year old! How do they just know that when you really REALLY need them to conform, a glint of mischief appears in their eyes?
Finally, with bribery and the mention of Father Christmas’ imminent visit, tranquility was restored and they sidled off to bed, no doubt planning their next scheme! As the guests arrived, we toasted with a glass of Champagne in anticipation of the 4 course meal prepared by chef Ivan.
With over 15 years experience working in Michelin starred restaurants including working alongside the godfather of French cuisine, Alain Ducasse no less, 5 star hotels including those in The French Caribbean, Luxembourg and Lyon….the list could go on and undoubtedly will continue to, chef Ivan Duchene delivered a fusion of extraordinary courses beginning with an elegant amuse bouche of smoked salmon mousse presented in an egg shell and placed on a bed of rock salt.
This was followed by homemade raviolis of blue lobster and tarragon served with a creamy bisque as well as a second starter variation consisting of salad of blue lobster served with quinoa taboulé style and salsa verde.
We requested one meal to be made gluten-free for two reasons, one to challenge the chef’s experience in this field and secondly as our 7 year old son has coeliac disease (an incurable autoimmune disease that can only be treated with a strict gluten-free diet). We always want to see how chefs cater for those with coeliac disease* and we were not disappointed as the blue lobster salad gave the ravioli a run for it’s money.
The main course consisted of roasted free range chicken breast and wing stuffed with wild mushrooms and was accompanied with seasonal vegetables braised with garlic and parsley butter and a chicken jus. We were yet again not disappointed and all plates were devoured eagerly.
The dessert consisted of exotic fruit meringue vacherin style served with vanilla chantilly cream and mango coulis. I cannot remember the last time I managed to eat three courses however the dessert was so light and too delicious to refuse!
Feeling content after our indulgent meal, as we relaxed and chatted, chef Ivan worked a miracle in the kitchen, cleaning down and leaving it as though he had never been. It was a faultless evening and we look forward to hosting again using La Belle Assiette.
*I work closely with Coeliac UK and one of the biggest challenges a coeliac faces when dining out is knowing whether something has come into cross contamination. Further information for the catering industry can be found here.
At the end of the day, if more restaurants seriously catered for those that need to follow this strict diet, they gain not just one customer but the group of people that are dining with them and more than likely repeated business and word of mouth which is invaluable.