The Kitchit Experience – Exquisite Dinner Parties At Home with World Class ChefsDec 7th, 2011 | By Lulu del Rosario | Category: Cool Factors, Featured, Home
Photo credit: Albert Law
Recently, through a friend of mine who works several revolutions via a couple of start ups, I discovered a new little company in my neck of the woods with a touch of class and je en sais quoi. The kind that made heads turn and say…”Really? I want that! The company is called Kitchit and (to me) they certainly stood out not because they invented the concept of having a chef cook a private dinner in someone’s home. They thought outside that box, took the idea to the moon and put a capital “C” in Chef ~ separating the real thing from the millions of wannabe cooks (with aprons) that I’ve encountered in our quest for fine (and fun) living.
Brendan Marchall (CEO), Ian Ferguson (Head of Product) and George Tang (CTO) all loved entertaining friends and family and believed that food is the world’s best conduit for connecting with others. Kitchit was founded by these three gentlemen in 2010 and officially launched at the end of September 2011, just a couple of months ago. Which was when I heard their buzz. Kitchit is all about creating amazing dinner parties while making it as effortless as possible for the hosts. How do they do this? Well, they connect amazing professional Chefs directly with the consumer. And this is where they take center stage. Keep reading!
Kitchit concept: Kitchit allows members to hire world-class chefs to cook for dinner parties and private events in their homes.
I recently conducted a Q&A with Kitchit to present to you how extra 0rdinary they are and why I believe they’re timing is perfect. In the last year, I’ve encountered foodies galore ~ either eating in fine Michelin starred or Zagat-rated establishments, drinking the best wine and having a blast, or having dinner parties at home and serving exotic dishes. Kitchit allows the exquisite dining at home, sans the stress and minor headaches.
Main lobster and beluga lentils with tarragon emulsion, by Chef Dan Wood
C&A: How do you choose your chefs and menus?
We pride ourselves on the exceptional quality of our chef community, and work very hard to hand-select the best chefs. In fact, all of our chefs undergo an interview process by us to ensure they can deliver a true Kitchit experience. Many of them have experience working in top restaurants, such as The French Laundry, Gary Danko, Manresa, Quince, Chez Panisse, Per Se, and Babbo. Additionally, we have a number of “Master Chefs” on our site, including Traci des Jardins (Jardinière, Mijita), Christopher Kostow (Meadowood), Daniel Patterson (Coi), and Joshua Skenes (Saison), who can be booked for special events through the Kitchit Concierge.
At Kitchit, we select the artists and not the art. The chefs customize each menu based on the tastes and preferences of the member. We call this “bespoke dining” – a menu and experience tailored to each member.
C&A: Please explain how Kitchit works. Do clients have a choice as far as the menu is concerned?
Not only do clients choose their menus – the menus are tailored specifically for them by top-caliber chefs. Here is how Kitchit works: On the Kitchit website, each of our chefs has a profile. When members want to host an event, they log onto the site and can start browsing chef profiles. Once members have found their perfect chef, they can send the chef an inquiry for their event. From there, chef and member communicate via the Kitchit platform to discuss menu options, preferences, and any other event details. The chef then sends the member a proposal and the member reserves the date by paying a deposit on the event through the Kitchit website. Up until the event, chef and member can continue to communicate and iron out the details of the event, even making menu tweaks or changes to the headcount as necessary. On the day of the event, the member and guests get to sit back, relax, and enjoy each other’s company while the chef does all of the prep, cooking, and cleaning up. After the event occurs, the remaining event balance is released to the chef. All payment occurs securely through the Kitchit website.
Bacon-crusted diver scallops with potato mousseline and balsamic reduction, by Chef Derek Burns
C&A: What services are included in a Kitchit experience.
The beauty of the Kitchit experience is that it is totally customizable. Kitchit provides members with access to world-class chefs, and from there members can work with those chefs to create any experience that they can dream up! At a minimum, though, the Kitchit experience includes all shopping, prep work, cooking, and cleanup, so that members can enjoy their events without having to stress about any of the details or work that typically accompany a dinner party.
Warren pear & almond tart with lemon creme fraiche, by Chef Jason Smith
C&A: Who is your target market?
Our target market is anybody who is interested in curating his or her own dining experience, for whatever reason or occasion. Certainly Kitchit appeals to the “foodie” who is interested in having a fine-dining experience at home with exclusive access to a world-class chef, but we also appeal to anybody who sees the value in having a stress-free, intimate dining experience with good food and good company. In particular, people who often entertain at home, whether for social occasions, charity events, or with family will find Kitchit invaluable. And food enthusiasts who want the fine-dining experience without the limitations of traditional restaurant settings (reservation size limits, having to find a babysitter or parking, etc.) will love using Kitchit as a more intimate and comfortable substitute to a night “out.”
C&A: I’m assuming meals can be a simple dinner for two or a big group. Can you help our readers envision a nice romantic dinner for two and a large group party?
Sure! Kitchit is an amazing way to host special events and occasions. If you wanted to celebrate a special anniversary, for example, you could find a chef on Kitchit who could help you plan a romantic dinner for two at home. Here is what it could look like: You would first select one of our world-class chefs – maybe one who has experience working in one of your favorite fine-dining restaurants. Leading up to the event, you would let the chef know all of your favorite foods, or if there is anything you don’t like. You could also discuss the type of atmosphere you’d like to create: quiet, sultry, and romantic; or more casual and relaxed. Since it’s a special occasion, your meal might start with a champagne toast or a special cocktail. The chef will have arrived at your house a couple of hours before dinner to prep and set everything up. When you are ready to eat, your meal might start with an amuse bouche, and at the pace you set, your next courses would be served to the table. An anniversary would be the perfect excuse for a decadent 10-course meal, with a menu that includes all of your favorite foods. Your chef will take care of pouring wine and water, and will have lit some candles on the table before you sit down to eat. If you are interested in hearing about each dish, your chef will be happy to introduce them and explain his or her inspiration; or if you’d prefer to have a romantic, quiet dinner, the chef will serve the dishes and not interrupt your meal. Your meal might finish with a decadent dessert, and then while you are left to enjoy the rest of your evening, your chef will clean up – leaving you with a kitchen that’s cleaner than it was when he or she arrived. Whatever you think of as a romantic dinner can easily be planned and executed with Kitchit.
On the other end of the spectrum might be a casual, festive outdoor Mexican fiesta or barbecue. Maybe you have some guests visiting from out of town, or perhaps you are celebrating your birthday with a group of 10 or 20 friends. In either case, you can find a chef on Kitchit who specializes in your favorite type of cuisine, and then work with the chef to plan the perfect party menu. You’ll arrange all of the details with your chef beforehand, and he/she can provide rentals if necessary. On the day of your party, all you have to do is get ready and welcome your friends, while your chef preps and sets up. Depending on your preferences, you might have some passed hors d’oeuvres, or maybe a simple spread with fresh salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips. You can enjoy the party and all of the delicious food with your friends, and then keep the party going long after the meal while your chef cleans up. Regardless of the occasion or the menu, Kitchit events are all about sharing delicious food with friends and family.
Chef Ian Mullen at work
C&A: What is key to your success?
Kitchit is in the fortunate position of having a fantastic roster of chefs who can deliver amazing experiences to our members. So, the key to our success is really making sure that both of these groups – chefs and members – are able to connect with one another in a meaningful way. For us this means making sure our website and features are designed with the needs of both chefs and members in mind. It also means offering unparalleled customer support so that every event goes off without a hitch. And of course, we are always seeking to bring new, talented chefs into our community so that we can meet member demand and represent all of the best restaurants. We strive to deliver exceptional quality and a diverse set of culinary specialties to our members. As long as we do these things, we are confident that people will see the enormous value in what Kitchit has to offer – a bespoke dining experience that is both delicious and satisfying!
Today, Kitchit introduced gift cards, which are a great gift for anyone who enjoys sharing good food with good company. Gift cards can be purchased, personalized, and delivered on the Kitchit website: www.kitchit.com/gift-cards.
Additionally, Kitchit has just announced a holiday promotion: When you invite friends to join Kitchit, they get a $50 credit to be used toward an event. When they book their first event, you also receive a $50 credit.
Happy Eats and Here’s to Fine Dining ~ At Home!