Your Private Chef Experience, Melbourne

Last night, I was very fortunate to have been invited to an exclusive dinner party hosted by our friends to celebrate a great milestone for his career. When I say exclusive, I am not kidding - it was a full on "Suit Up!" occasion and they hired a private chef to do all the cooking! They even hired a waitress to serve the food, and they take care of all the cleaning up afterwards. Our hosts didn't have to lift a finger, and we had an epic evening of exquisite wining and dining.

How was I not made aware of such service prior to this? Honestly, I thought private chefs were only available to hire in Bali, lol. I have to admit, a night like this was not cheap. But was it worth it? Read on to find out.....

We were presented with a very mouthwatering menu carefully selected by our hosts. You can tell based on this menu that our friends have great taste in food. 

While we were having pre-dinner drinks, we were served with some delicious canapes. This meatball was full of flavour and was so deliciously juicy and tender. Gone in 3 seconds! It was like an explosion of meaty goodness in my mouth. So good!

The crab cake was tasty and flavoursome, but I personally would've preferred a more crunchier texture on the outside. It definitely had the right smooth and fluffy texture overall, but it did not have an outer layer of crisp. Still absolutely delicious though!

As we were seated for the start of our 3-course meal, our chef Darryn was busy cooking and plating up our entrees. The scallops were freshly pan seared for just the right amount of time and served while it's still hot.

So our entrees were served, delicious scallops with chorizo and cauliflower puree - my kind of entree! It did not disappoint, the scallops were perfectly cooked and how can we not love chorizo? The cauliflower puree and vinaigrette complimented the flavours of both the scallops and chorizo so perfectly. I wanted more!!! But we had to save room in our bellies for our mains....

And so while we were busy enjoying our entrees, the chef was still working hard in the kitchen getting the mains ready.

I loved just watching him work, and really amazed at how he just fits in and make every one of his customers' kitchens work for him. It really takes a unique skill to still be able to cook well in various different kitchens all the time.

Then the mains were served... and I am salivating just at the thought of that juicy and tender pork belly. Mm mmm!! The pork was soooooooooo good especially with that delicious pear puree. The potatoes were a little bit underdone, I would've liked it just slightly softer and fluffier on the inside but it had a really good crusty outer layer which was great. The pomegranate really held the whole dish together by adding a bit of acid flavour to the whole thing. It was just perfect. So wholesome, delicious, great for a cold winter's night.

Our dinner definitely ended on a high. Chef Darryn's chocolate souffle was absolutely flawless. It had the delicious runny centre and amazing crusty top layer with a little bit of sugar, the ice cream was sooooo smooth and yummy, I really cannot fault this dessert! I pretty much licked my ramekin, well the sides of it anyway, felt wrong to keep licking haha.

So, the verdict. Was it worth the money our very generous friends spent just for one night of exquisite dining? Well, let's put it this way... our friends could focus on just being hosts and having a great time without worrying about preparing, cooking and serving up the food. By the time we finished our meals and had more drinks, the kitchen was absolutely spotless. It was as if cooking in that kitchen never happened! We get restaurant quality food. It was quite an epic evening. So, even though I personally may not currently have the means to host such an epic evening myself, I actually think it was totally worth it. They wanted an epic night at home, they got an epic night at home. We were all truly jolly and had such a great night. It was definitely a night to remember. My photos are proof of that!

If you are interested to look into hiring a private chef yourself, check out - they do everything from gourmet weekly meals delivered fresh to your door, exclusive dinner parties from 2 to 2,000 people, corporate catering and cocktail functions. They do the menu planning, shopping, preparing, serving and even cleaning up!

It was definitely a fuss-free evening for the hosts and someday, with the right occasion, I might host one of these fancy dinner parties with a private chef myself! Hehe.

Chilli Lime Salmon with Gnocchi, Spinach & Olive Oil

I recently discovered that I am actually pretty good at making good food super fast. This dish for example, only took me 15 minutes to prepare, cook and plate up! It is also a great 4 Ingredients dish. It actually looked really good by the end of it, and tasted amazing for something so simple, and the flavours all worked together really well, so I decided no matter how little ingredients are involved or how simple it was, I will blog this. I am sure a lot of people out there can relate to not wanting to spend hours in the kitchen to come up with an impressive and decent meal. This dish is fulfilling, delicious and reasonably healthy so here goes!

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 pre-marinated Chilli and Lime salmon fillet from Coles
250g fresh gnocchi
A handful of spinach
Olive oil

In a pot, bring water to boil. While waiting for water to boil, heat a frying pan, drizzle some olive oil and panfry salmon for approx. 4 minutes on each side. 

(Alternatively for a more evenly cooked salmon that melts in your mouth, you can preheat oven at 190 degrees and bake for 15 minutes)

Meanwhile, add gnocchi to boiling water and let it cook until the water comes up to a boil again and gnocchi starts floating. Drain water, return gnocchi to heat and add spinach and olive oil. Toss for 2-3 minutes until spinach shrinks. Serve immediately with pieces of salmon.

Bosch Masterclass Bloggers Event featuring Ian Curley

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be one of the few bloggers invited to an exclusive Masterclass Event featuring Ian Curley from the European Restaurant in Melbourne. The event was hosted by Bosch Kitchen Appliances and was held in their Brand Experience Centre in Heatherton.

The room was set up very nicely for a cosy, elegant and intimate dinner setting. We were all immediately going around admiring all the shiny and beautiful looking kitchen appliances... the ovens, the cooktops, the fridges... we all wished we had a kitchen like that!

After getting all settled in with a glass of wine in hand, we were all ushered into the test kitchen for our masterclass session. It was a very casual and hands on session. Ian started by demonstrating how to fillet a John Dory and then in just what seemed to be a few minutes later, he was already halfway through demonstrating us how to cook his John Dory dish! We were all very impressed with his skills, and the speed of his cooking. After all, he is pro! Plus, it helps that he was using super efficient tools such as the Bosch hand blender to speed up the process of making the cauliflower puree and cooking the fish on a really good quality Bosch stove top.

Before we know it, (and time seems to fly really fast when you are trying to multitask taking photos and tweeting and learning all at the same time), the John Dory with Cauliflower Puree and Braised Witlof is ready. Our first dish of the day. We did not actually sit down to eat this, as we all then split into groups to the next part of the session which was the "hands on" cooking experience with a mentor in each group, but we were all tucking in whenever we had the opportunity in between again, trying to multitask! The fish was cooked to perfection, and it was just delicious! I have to admit I went back a few times to have another taste, hehe.

I was in Team Seafood Paella with Thanh and April, and guided by one of Ian's assistant chefs Miles we were taught the step by step to cooking the perfect seafood paella. The recipe itself was three pages long, and the list of ingredients seemed endless! But it was so full of flavour, and actually a lot easier to cook and prepare than it looks! The end result... was a beautiful tasting paella with TONS of fresh seafood much to the delight of some of the seafood lovers, and had a really good kick of spice to it.

The best thing about my experience cooking that evening with my team, was that I got to experience cooking using a Bosch Induction cooktop first hand! It was my first time cooking using an induction cooktop so I was very excited, hehe. It was truly amazing. Didn't take long at all to heat up the pots, and yet it's not hot when you touch it! The whole technology and science behind induction cooking is just incredible, and I went home that night already wishing I had one. On my Wish List!

Moving on, Team Crab Linguine were cooking with Ian himself so of course the pasta turned out beautifully! I can't comment much on the cooking experience, lol but I sure did enjoy eating my little bowl of pasta!

Even though I was more than happy to have the opportunity to learn how to cook the perfect Seafood Saffron Paella, I was semi envious of Team Beef Wellington because I have always wanted to learn how to make this dish! The technique of making the perfect pastry, and then cooking the beef just perfectly, I really wanted to learn it and try it! Thankfully, we all got recipes for ALL the dishes so I guess I'll just have to give it a go someday... but Team Beef Wellington did an amazing job. It was just perfect, and I was so happy it was one of the dishes we actually all got to have our own plate and sat down to enjoy it. I'm not sure about the cooking process, but I think they used the Steam Oven to cook it and maybe that's why the meat retained a lot of its moisture?

Last but definitely not least, after we all sat down and had dinner, we were ushered back to the test kitchen where Ian showed us how to make this AMAZING mouthwatering dessert - the Olive Oil, Polenta and Ricotta Triffle. This was quite an interesting sounding dessert, almost savoury to be honest! But it was far from savoury, it was deliciously rich and I just loved how the Olive Oil really brought out the flavours of this dessert. The pastry stick was a simple yet brilliant idea anyone can easily do at home.

After dessert, we all stuck around for a little bit longer as Ian demonstrates how to make the perfect pasta using Bosch Pasta Maker and the kind staff from Bosch also very kindly showed us how all the other appliances worked. I was very impressed with all of them! Even the microwave ovens are not your typical microwave ovens, they have such state of the art features that makes cooking and heating so much better, targeted to different types of foods, and quicker, and they even have a Step by Step setting which allows you to control the power levels for a better end result. Very clever appliances... and I will not do justice to them trying to explain it myself, so you will just need to consult a Bosch specialist near you :-)

Overall, it was a lovely evening full of fun and drinks and good food and great company. Thanks to Bosch for organising the event and I definitely look forward to a lot more events such as this in the future.