We know prepping for even a small dinner party can be difficult, from preparing a menu with dietary restrictions, , shopping and cooking (while your friends are waiting for you) to the cleanup afterwards, the entire process might feel like climbing a mountain. This is the story of one Naks Home Chef customer’s experience of throwing a small, affordable get together with her friends after being apart for so long.
The smoke alarm blaring, Teddi ran into her kitchen to retrieve her 246th try on banana bread. Sporting puppy oven mitts, she grabbed it from the oven, where it was so not on fire. After a little bit of vicious stabbing with a steak knife, or as she liked to call it, coaxing, a hunk of charcoal plopped on the counter. 246th time was not the charm. She sighed, turned off the oven and smoke alarm, and left the room, careful not to make eye contact with the dried up sourdough starter neglected on the counter.
She returned to her couch, where her body was perfectly indented after five months of constant quarantine, and almost resigned to another day inside. Almost. Picking up her phone, she saw that her group chat with her friends had blown up, and she was being talked about. As she had been in the kitchen perfecting her master baking, her friends had decided that the time had finally come to put on real clothes and get together, outside of course, and she had been volunteered to host. The event was in two days, and aside from the stress of getting out of her pajamas for the first time in months, Teddi would have to throw a small dinner party.
Teddi panicked. Smoke was still wafting out of the kitchen from her “banana bread,” and she knew she couldn’t afford to cater from a restaurant for six people. She took to doing what she knew best: scrolling through Instagram. In a miracle that only the FBI agent in her phone could pull, she stumbled across Naks-Home Chefs in her news feed. Clicking through their website, she found it hard to believe that a personal chef could be within her budget, but regardless, she filled out the quick booking form and requested a phone call. A friendly, knowledgeable agent explained the whole process to her, and with her friends still blowing up the group chat, she got a confirmation for her chef.
Within the day, a chef named Zoe texted Teddi, asking to speak on the phone. When she called, they discussed the menu and settled on some of her and her friends’ favorites and a bunch of foods Teddi had never heard of before (garlic jus sounded great, but it was new to Teddi’s vocabulary), but Zoe promised it would be delicious. Zoe was even able to accommodate Teddi’s friend, Jessica, who was vegan and Anna, who was gluten intolerant, two restrictions that were nightmares whenever they tried to go out to a restaurant. The day of the event arrived, and Zoe arrived at Teddi’s house two hours before the event, clad in a mask and carrying all the groceries she needed to cook the four course meal. While Teddi prepped herself to speak to her friends face to face instead of a computer screen, she worked on setting up her table near the fire pit in her backyard. Meanwhile, for the first time ever, a smell that wasn’t smoke began to come from the kitchen.
Around seven, Teddi’s friends began to arrive. They filed through the delicious smelling house, each expressing their excitement to finally be back together, and congregated around the fire pit, where Zoe had laid out some mediterranean vegetables with an incredible tzatziki dip. The six friends munched on fresh vegetables and bonded over their collective struggle with at home workouts and being trapped in their homes. After about an hour, Zoe signaled for them to gather around the table for their second course. She brought out flatbreads and told them about her travels through Greece and the mediterranean as Teddi and her friends learned about the area’s most authentic cuisine. Between each course, Zoe filled the group with her travel stories, from Paris to Scotland, leaving the group dreaming of passports and carry-on bags.
Zoe brought out special plates for Teddi’s two friends with dietary restrictions. They were both over the moon that they wouldn’t be simply eating leaves, like is usually the case when they go to restaurants. With a vegan dish and a gluten free dish that Teddi’s friends were kind enough to let the others try, everyone wanted the recipes after the main course was served. By the time dessert was ready, Teddi didn’t think she could eat another bite, but she quickly made room when Zoe came out to their table with a freshly made, flourless chocolate cake topped ‘with a raspberry compote. As she placed the plates in front of the group, she told them about where she was given the recipe, living with a host family in Italy, it was a recipe that had been passed through the family for generations.
When everyone’s plates were all but licked clean, Teddi and her friends settled around the fire pit to round off the night. As Zoe came to say her goodbyes, Teddi received a text detailing her itemized bill on her phone. As she completed the checkout process and added her tip for the wonderful experience, Teddi realized that the entire meal had cost less than dinner and two bottles of wine at a restaurant. Teddi and her friends invited Zoe to sit with them. They all stayed in Teddi’s backyard much longer than they’d planned for, basking in the time spent together by the fire and enjoying stories of rejoining the real world, working from home, and Zoe telling them about the many countries she’d visited.
As the night turned into the very early hours in the morning, Teddi bid everyone farewell at the door, but not before her friends had bookmarked Naks to cater again for the get together they planned for the following week- thankfully not at Teddi’s house. Shutting the door, Teddi made her way back into her kitchen, finding it spotless… except for the scorch marks on the wall from earlier that week, but hey, now she knew she could always hire a private chef to cook for her.