A novel approach to fine dining
It’s no secret there are plenty of great restaurants in Stratford, many of which offer fine dining experiences that rival some of the best in the country.
For those who enjoy going out to eat on a regular basis, the city is a true paradise. Yet for people who would rather enjoy a five-star meal in their home without having to cook for hours or clean up afterwards, there hasn’t been a lot of choice in the matter – until now.
“I’m offering a fine-dining meal in your home,” said Chef Chris Powell. “Where a lot of caterers do the basics, where it’s like salads, meat and potatoes for large-scale events, I’ll literally come into your home and cook three-course, five-course meals, ranging from filet mignon to sous-vide pork tenderloin – all tailor-made to the person’s needs.”
Supported by his business partner, Blaine Myers, Powell, a classically trained chef from the U.K., recently launched Dinewell, connecting diners with the food and dining experiences they would enjoy at a five-star restaurant in the comfort of their own homes.
“I will liaise with the customer and we’ll tailor make a menu to what they want, to their specifications, and then I’ll price it accordingly and I’ll go in their home with everything. I’ll bring the plates, the cutlery, a server – everything. I’ll go in and then come out and the kitchen is as clean as it was when I got there,” Powell said.
Having trained for five years in Britain, travelled around the world studying different culinary traditions, and worked as a chef at the London Hunt and Country Club, Powell uses his experience and training to provide his clients with a list of meal options based on their ingredient preferences. The diners then have a chance to mix and match courses and dishes until the meal they want is the meal they get.
“I have the background and I have the experience to serve fine dining food. It’s the experience of going out for a meal without the fuss of actually going out,” Powell said.
Although Dinewell is still in its infancy, Powell said he has already served dinner for five separate clients, all of whom finished their meals satisfied with their dining experience.
“We had the dinner ourselves – we were the initial start of it all – and it was unbelievable. It was amazing, everything about it,” Myers said. “I sat deliberately so I couldn’t see Chris work, so I couldn’t see what was going on and it was perfect. I never heard anything, just constant food, the flow was amazing. I couldn’t believe that he did it by himself – there was 10 of us, I think, that night.”
To ensure his diners eat on time without having a stranger in their kitchen for most of the day, Powell completes much of the prep work beforehand, chopping vegetables and making dishes like ice cream that can’t be made in a home kitchen ahead of time.
As Powell also works as a cooking instructor, he doesn’t mind if his clients join him in the kitchen for a lesson.
“It could even be a bit of a lesson. I don’t mind the interaction,” Powell said.
Powell is also available to cook brunch as well as dinner.
In preparation to cook for Dinewell’s fifth client, Chef Chris Powell gets a head start by chopping some turnips.