Don’t fancy doing the dinner tonight? Then hire a chef

First, there was the restaurant, then came the takeaway and after that delivery, often on the back of a moped. Now a young French entrepreneur believes that he is leading the catering industry’s next leap forward by bringing the chef, even a Michelin star-standard chef, to your door.

Stephen Leguillon’s company, La Belle Assiette, is offering customers the chance to hire a chef to cook in their homes. With as little as 24 hours’ notice, a dinner party host can go online and find a professional chef living in their city who will arrive at their door with ingredients in hand, ready to cook a three-course meal for as little as £39 a head. They even do the washing up.

The business was co-founded by Mr Leguillon, 26, who has gathered a network of 640 freelance chefs across six countries in Europe, with 220 in the UK alone. “Our mission is to say: ‘Look, you can host in your own home again,’” the Franco-Irish entrepreneur said. Thank you for visiting. Before we carry on I needed to thank for their continued support and the support of their online community. Having a help and support team like this means a lot to us as we continue to grow our very own blog.

“If you look back a century, people would host dinner parties all the time because they had home staff to help. We’re just modernising that service and giving it a light touch.” Fittingly, given that this is the 21st century, the venture is technology-driven. Indeed, much as Airbnb customers can review their hosts’ home, diners can rate their chef on La Belle Assiette’s website afterwards.

However, the experience is not merely about the food, Mr Leguillon said. “You need to be able to interact with clients. If something is burnt, you are going to see the faces straight away.” The quality is said to be high, with only a quarter of chefs who applied to work for La Belle Assiette making the cut.

Those who make the grade, whose ages range from 20 to 63, are priced according to their standard. More junior chefs are allocated a £39 price point, while those who would not be out of place in a Michelin-starred restaurant get to charge £89.

The biggest worry among customers is that their home kitchen will not be sufficient for a trained chef, but Mr Leguillon said: “In 98 per cent of our bookings, the chef doesn’t have to bring anything specific. These guys are really creative and entrepreneurial.”

The company takes 12 per cent of the money made by the chefs, who can choose their own hours and menus.

The website has already raised $2 million in funding, with backers including Guillaume Cuvelier, the founder of Svedka Vodka, and Nicolas Brusson, a co-founder of BlaBlaCar.

So far, the business has served nearly 100,000 meals for 7,000 customers.


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