Now I love food and also love to cook, but when it came to our 1st wedding anniversary last week, I had no intentions of doing all the hard graft and not enjoy the day.

I knew that I wanted something special and as our 1st, I wanted to involve some key people from our wedding.  Yes, we could have all gone out for dinner in Central London and had a fabulous evening, but there is always the worry of catching the last tube home, the restaurant might be over busy and you are charged a king’s ransom for alcohol.

Remembering a conversation with a work colleague, who hired a chef at home who cooked for him and his wife.  He did all the prep, cooking, dishing up and even washing up.  Hmm, it didn’t take me long for the bells to go off in my head and think this would be a great idea!

After coming across a website called La Belle Assiette based in Paris, I selected my chef Jacqueline Wise and booked her.  This was back in January, so I had a while to make sure everything was in place and do a few tweaks to the menu (perfect from the outset, but I knew there were a couple of ingredients my guests didn’t like).

From our first conversation I knew we’d hit it off, chatting about food and cooking and only then did we actually get onto the menu.  Warm, friendly and very chatty (well that makes two of us).

We couldn’t thank Jacqueline enough.  The whole evening went like clockwork, we even had the time to nip to the pub for a quick pint, while all the prep and table laying was being done.  We arrived back at the house, our guests already served champagne and to my partner’s complete surprise as he had no idea we were expecting company.

Jacqueline Wise and her sous chef Marie-Louise (catering school buddies) were amazing all evening and I don’t underestimate the work entailed in getting our dinner party/anniversary dinner to run like clock work.  For the whole evening Marie-Louise ensured our plates were cleared, both served us beautifully and kept our glasses topped up.  We selected Jacqueline’s 7 course tasting menu and with each dish, at least one of our guests had something to say about the food. A bit like Masterchef, but all favourable of course.  The food both looked and tasted like I had paid three times over what I did. From butter seared scallops to honey baked guinea fowl to British beef fillet and gin baked plums and berries.

Well if her food was good enough for Buckingham Palace, I am sure it was good enough for us….We couldn’t have asked for more.  Well, seconds would have been nice, but with 7 courses, I don’t think there was room.  The handmade truffles for coffee had to wait until the next day.  Almost the best bit….after the food…The washing up was done for us too.

It was initially strange to have someone else running my kitchen, but soon forgotten and didn’t even think about the evening, other than discussions with our guests about the menu and what to expect next…For me whole normally does all the entertaining, it was just nice to kick back and be waited upon.  Private dining is the way to go, especially after our exceptional experience with Jacqueline and Marie-Louise.  Thank you are just not enough words to convey our appreciation and exceptional night celebrating our anniversary.  The cookery tips were also very much appreciated.

I now need an excuse for another dinner party and to hire Jacqueline again!!

With all of Jacqueline’s current ventures you had better get in quick if you want to book here services.  There is a lady in demand.

I have to just mention Jacqueline’s business Cordon Bleu chef for (UK) hire www.jacquelinewisechef.co.uk

La Belle Assiette is available in the UK and has an extensive range of chefs, all available for hire, from small dinner parties to large functions.


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