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Personal Chef for Private Party

My wife is turning 50 (excuse me, 39) this year and I want to throw her a special party. I am thinking of having a personal chef come to our house to prepare a meal for about 20 guests. As we enjoy cooking classes, I am hoping for something a bit more interactive than simply having a caterer do the event.

Has anyone had any experience with this type of evening? I searched the net under personal chef but typically pull up "prepare meals in your own home" type of websites, i.e. someone who comes in and prepares a week's worth of meal.

I am looking for a fine dining experience, where all of our needs are taken care of: cooking, serving, cleaning, etc.

We're in Burlington - any experience or recommendations? We attended a similar evening several years ago by Lenny Karmiol when he was with the Good Earth Cooking School out of Beamsville and it was fantastic. Cost was about $100 pp.

Anyway - that's the frame of reference. Any ideas or recommendations?

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  1. I imagine it would be way up there, price wise, but there is a place called The Chef Upstairs in Toronto that hosts private meetings, parties, etc. Maybe the same chef would also come out to your place? For a price, of course!

    http://www.thechefupstairs.com/about.php

    1. Here's a guy who offers to do personal home dinner parties (and he was a sous chef with Gord Ramsay for five years ;-)
      http://www.chefforallseasons.ca/

      Here's another guy who does in-home dinner parties -
      http://www.chefcristian.com/chef_hire...

      Can't vouch for either, as I haven't used them and will likely never be able to hire a personal chef.

      Please do let us know who you eventually end up with, and how the dinner party goes!

      1 Reply
      1. re: JamieK

        You are expecting a lot even at $100 pp to get get a chef or cook to come in, prepare and cook your food, serve it, and clean up. My problem with the request is clean up, surely that can be left for next day.

      2. Hi there,
        Not sure what the prices are like but Ezra, from Chez Vous makes awesome food, and that's his main line of business these days, cooking for small dinner parties. he was at the brickworks picnic last weekend, and the food was stellar.
        You can contact them at:http://www.chezvousdining.ca/ or email ezra at: ezra@chezvousdining.ca

        1. This is someone I've used as have some friends. I was very happy with him. Contact him at Chef Bill Lohman
          www.whiskandlohman.com
          cooking @whiskandlohman.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: Leslieville

            I'm with alisonb, give Ezra a call. From what I tasted at the Brickworks, I agree his food is stellar. My other thought would be something like going to Dish Cooking Studio for a private party. Their classes are really informative, interactive and fun. I know you mentioned staying home, but this might be an alternative to consider.

          2. Cynalan, I would love to know what you decide on. My husband is turning the big one also, in January and I'm thinking along the same lines....small dinner party in our house. If you could keep us posted that would be great....thanks! BTW, have you thought about a wine tasting?? We had Billy Munnelly over recently and it was a lot of fun. Just a thought.

            1 Reply
            1. Not too long ago I attended a dinner party for 14 at a friend's home. They hired a chef who no longer works full time in the business but still does dinners such as this on a word of mouth basis. Everything was fantastic, great attention to detail, on par with TO fine dinning. The kitchen at the house was spacious and allowed for lots of interaction while the cooking was happening. I believe he's from Hamilton and has worked at some high end establishments in Toronto & Niagara and owned his own place as well (apparently also did a bit of time at Stadtlander's farm). I'll see if I can get contact info from my friend.

              3 Replies
              1. re: schnauzer

                Please do. Sounds like exactly what I am looking for.

                1. re: cynalan

                  Okay, here's the email address:

                  braisedshortribs@hotmail.com

                  His name is Mark. Regardless of who you use, let us know how it went.

                  Cheers

                  1. re: schnauzer

                    I had a chef named Marc cook a meal for 8 in my home a couple of years ago. Great experience. Unfortunately, I cannot find his contact details. Based on Schnauzer's description, It sounds like it is the same person. Marc was living in Collingwood at the time, and doing work in Toronto. If same guy, I highly recommend him.

              2. i would try and convince this guy to cook for me:
                http://www.alacuisine.org/alacuisine/...

                try and contact him through his blog. you never know maybe he might be interested.

                if you do contact him can you follow up and let us know what he says?

                good luck!


                Chow!
                HL.

                1. Hi just read this post.
                  Just heard about a friend who had chefs from Amuse Bouche (in Hamilton) do a dinner and wine for a birthday for 12 people and I've heard rave reviews.
                  905-527-3990

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: phoodee

                    Thanks. I'll check them out. Never heard of them.

                    1. re: cynalan

                      Hey cynalan, just wondering who you went with??

                      1. re: millygirl

                        We selected a personal chef by the name of Michael Benninger. Here is a link to his website: http://www.thymemanagement.ca

                        He and his wife Marilyn served an excellent dinner for 12. They were outgoing and engaged our guests appropriately (with my consent of course), quite professional and actually left the kitchen cleaner than when they arrived. They brought all of their own cooking equipment and left us to provide only the place settings and wine glasses - which they washed at the end of the evening. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all of our guests and my wife said it was the best birthday she's had. We even had in a magician to do a show between dinner and dessert.

                        The cost of the meal was $75 per person. We provided our own wine but Mike suggested wine pairings that were quite good. Found a new red that we liked called Angus the Bull - great name, eh?

                        Here was the menu I selected:

                        Salmon/avocado ceviche (hors d'oeuvres) - a huge hit, really very tasty
                        Tomato, bocconcino, basil salad with olive oil and balsalmic vinegar
                        Thai coconut pumpkin soup - unique flavour will several different finishes on the tongue
                        Grilled beed tenderloin with reduced port jus (and a solitary goat cheese stuffed chicken breast with pesto cream sauce for my wife who does not eat red meat
                        )Grilled veggies
                        Orzo with pesto cream sauce
                        White chocolate mascarpone mousse with berry compote

                        Needless to say no-one left hungry. I give Mike 10/10 for a wonderful evening.

                  2. For my husband's 50th we had a fantastic party at Liaison College of Culinary Arts- Lakeshore Campus which is run and owned by Dan Ferrone ( ex argo). The location is an old historic building near Islington and Lakeshore which is very charming and easy to find. Plenty of parking. We had a private chef and all participated as much or as little as they wanted. We worked in the very large industrial kitchen which was set up festively. Everyone got aprons to take home and copies of the recipes.They are very flexible with what menu you would like and Dan and his wife, Barb were wonderful to work with. The prices are also very reasonable and you are able to apply for a liquor license and purchase your own wine. We were 19 in total ranging in age from 16-80 and everyone had a blast. It was very interactive and relaxed. I would highly recommend it.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mangoginger

                      We had chef Colin Gallacher do a dinner for us once a while back and he was amazing! He's worked at Jump and JOV and the Laurentian Room - amazing guy with a French flair in his food - and he put together a wonderful dinner for us. He sat down with us and helped us structure a dinner that was just right...and his execution was superb! Can't recommend him enough. You can reach him at:
                      saucecuisine@hotmail.com & his name is Colin.

                      1. re: ostracario

                        My mom was a part of a group of ladies that had Jamie Kennedy cater their dinner at my mothers friends house, it was about 100.00 a person minus the wine. It was back in the Palmerston days so I am not sure what the cost would be today.

                      2. re: mangoginger

                        Sorry, I see you have posted a reply cynalan....thanks! Nic

                      3. Hi - I'm starting to plan my partners 50th and I'm looking to do the same thing - chef at home/location, bit of entertainment etc, did you pull it off cynalan? Currently living in london, uk but coming back to TO at Easter to do it then. Please let me know, Nic.

                        1. ncantley, I used Chef Ezra Title for my hubbie's 50th and it was a huge success. I wrote about it under a different thread. He and his sous chef did an amazing job and our guests were blown away. One of the courses was a demo where we all gathered in the kitchen to watch. it was a blast and a very memorable evening. Check out his website chezvous catering. Best of luck with it.