HOMEmade gourmet dining

For those looking for an exclusive culinary experience without venturing too far, ChefXChange is on hand to bring an unforgettable dining scene to the comfort of your own home. For a firsthand perspective, editor Sophie tries out the online platform that serves as a connection between professional chefs and food lovers, for the first time.

What is ChefXChange?

Whether you’re planning a dinner party for friends, an intimate meal for you and your partner, or simply a family gathering without the hassle of cooking at home, ChefXChange is an online service that allows its end user to log-on and connect with professional chefs in the area. The online marketplace for food lovers and chefs looking to link up, offers a pool of more than 50 chefs – all of whom are just a click away to book for private catering in the comfort of your own home, even with short notice. Chefs on the site are equipped to cook cuisines from all over the world, including the likes of Italian, Asian, French, Arabic, Spanish, and more – they’ll even come and host an outside BBQ for you. From buying all of the ingredients needed for the lunch, brunch or dinner, to cooking, serving and best yet, cleaning up after the experience, the chef booked through ChefXChange will provide a full dinner party package, and will also bring along a kitchen assistant if the group size requires – ensuring all that’s left to do is to sit back and relax. Dining experiences are tailored to your individual needs, with the chef taking into consideration your price point, dietary requirements, location and time.

How does it work?

To book your very own ChefXChange experience, simply log-on to www.chefxchange.com and register – it’s a really easy-to-use site and simple process. Once your account is set up, scroll through the list of chefs to choose the one best suited to what you’re looking for. Here, you can filter depending on the chef’s specialty, your location and the date you’d like the event. When you’ve found a chef who fits the bill, drop them a line to discuss the type of menu you’d like and the budget that you’re working with. From here, the chef will take the lead and put together a custom-made menu for your dinner party. You’ll also fill out a check list, informing the chef what kitchen appliances you have – so don’t worry if your kitchen is low on gadgets because the chef’s job will be to create a menu based on what’s available. Lastly, once a price per person has been agreed upon, you’ll be able to pay with credit card through the website’s secure payment gateway. Then, you’re ready to go – the chef will show up on the chosen date and cook up a storm in your kitchen!

What’s it like?

Having used the service, I’d highly recommend it to anyone wishing to make more out of their space at home – particularly those wanting to throw a dinner party without having to play host the entire evening, or those with younger children, who’d still like to socialise, whilst being able to cater to their little ones from the comfort and safety of home (best of both worlds!). I shared this experience with my family, who all agreed it provided the means for an interestingly fun culinary evening. Out of the chefs, I chose chef Shane Born – who was excellent. Before using ChefXChange, one apprehension that I had was that it’d be slightly awkward welcoming a stranger into our home, but this was by far not the case. Chef Shane was extremely friendly, chatty and great to work with when it came to putting a menu together. He showed flexibility to cater to our likes and dislikes and arrived right on time, before serving each course in a timely manner. Best of all, he left the kitchen spotless, and a pot of leftovers on the stove – a win! Personally, I found this a particularly great service giving the time of year when not wanting to dine outside. I’m always looking for new ways to entertain indoors – so this is a perfect way to do so right now. Or alternatively, I’d be quite keen to try it again when the weather cools down and have a chef over to help with throwing the ultimate BBQ, or chic outdoor garden party.

How much does it cost?

Cost per person varies on the menu that you opt for, the number of courses, and the ingredients selected. The price includes all food provided, the chef’s time, and gratuity, in addition to relevant travel costs or a charge for extra servers if the group is a large one. I found the service really reasonable, especially when taking into consideration the going rates for a 3-course meal at most outlets across Dubai. Our menu for example, cost Dhs250 per person and comprised the following: a tataki sampler to start, a chorizo carbonara for main, followed by a vanilla panna cotta with strawberry coulis for dessert – all of which was bought prepared and served for us. If you want to try: If you’re a food lover wishing to try the ChefXChange experience, or if you’re a professional chef who’d like to join the ChefXChange culinary team, please register here: www.chefxchange.com