Kitchit Brings Famous Chefs Into Your Kitchen
By Anthony Todd in Food on Dec 4, 2012 5:00PM
How would you like to have Phillip Foss (El Ideas), Sarah Grueneberg (Spiaggia) or Matthew Kirkley (L2O) cook a meal in your home kitchen? A lot of foodies would give their eye teeth (or at least several hundred dollars) for the chance, but how would they go about setting it up? Call the restaurant and sound creepy? Wait outside the kitchen door for the chef to leave at night? Thanks to Kitchit, the "bespoke dining" service that launches in Chicago this week, it's easy - and may not be as expensive as you think.
"We have a wonderful roster of chefs from all culinary backgrounds who we carefully vet," explained founder Ian Ferguson. "The product is hiring those chefs to come into your home for you and your friends to cook a menu that you collaborate on directly with the chefs." This lets you create not only a well-catered dinner party, but a dinner party that is the equivalent of renting a private room in a high-end restaurant, without ever leaving your house.
Isn't it a pain in the neck to bring a restaurant into your kitchen? Not particularly, since the chefs take care of everything for you. Ferguson explains: "The chefs shop, serve, clean up, give all inclusive prices, they will work closely with you on the creation of a menu."
Catering companies have done this for years of course, but you can't often get these kinds of chefs through catering companies. In addition to Foss, Grueneberg and Kirkley, the service has signed up Brian Jupiter (Frontier), Chris Pandel (Bristol and Balena), Beverly Kim (recently of Bonsoiree), Cleetus Friedman (City Provisions), Scott Manley (Table, Donkey and Stick) and Patrick and Michael Sheerin (Trenchermen).
Let's be clear: Big name chefs aren't cheap. It may cost a couple of hundred dollars per person to bring one of those chefs into your apartment. On the other hand, compared to the cost of dining at one of their expensive restaurants (or hiring a caterer), it might not end up being so bad.
What if you don't have $150/person to spend on a dinner party? Ferguson told us about some other options. "Most people expect that it must be pretty expensive. One of our biggest challenges is educating people that it's not as much as one might imagine. We do a lot of dinners in the $50-$70 per person price range. Now that won't be Chris Pandel - it'll be perhaps someone who works on his line. But they are the next big names themselves!" Even better, the dinners are BYOB, so there are no restaurant markups on alcohol. If you want to work it out with your friends, they allow you to split the meal onto different credit cards, just like you can at a restaurant. "It's like a DIY popup restaurant in your own home."
Kitchit also offers some other products, including much less expensive "Casual meals," cooking lessons and cocktail parties. Why hire Kitchit rather than planning a party yourself? "For me personally, the dinner party is a wonderful way to dine that gets short shrift because people find it hard to pull off," Ferguson told us. "If you can say goodbye to your guests and your chefs after 2-3 hours and you kitchen is cleaner than it was when you started, and no money changed hands that night; that's a recipe for a good night!"
To learn more (or just to make yourself hungry) check out the videos below.