S.Pellegrino, a brand which celebrates fine dining around the world, highlights some of the gourmet experiences that chefs are creating for at-home dining in SA.

Home dining was all the rage during the first year of lockdown, with curfews and liquor bans forcing many to celebrate special occasions in their own homes rather than venturing to a restaurant. However, some are still hesitant to head out and some fine dining chefs are offering dine-at-home meals that are a cut above your average takeaway.

Interactive fun

An immense amount of thought has gone into creating these home dining offerings, and all of them involve the diner in part of the preparation. “We have tried hard to create something that gets you pretty close to enjoying a meal with us in the restaurant, but in the comfort of your own home,” says James Gaag, Executive Chef of La Colombe.

Everything you need for the meal is in the box and comes with clear instructions for heating and plating. Similar to the La Colombe tasting menu, it includes seven courses with all the La Colombe flavour, adapted and simplified for the home.  “Channel your inner chef and get creative,” says James. “Purees and sauces are all in easy-to-use squeeze bottles, so go wild.”

Ryan Cole, Executive Chef of Salsify says that modern diners have so much more exposure to television series such as Masterchef that they are more switched on and knowledgeable than they would have been 10 years ago. “It turns into a game. I send a sketch of how I would plate a dish and it’s like match that if you can. You’re having dinner cooked by someone else but you’re finishing it at home, which adds a sense of intrigue and luxury.”

Chef Patron Matt Manning’s Virtual Dining offering grew from his popular pre-COVID interactive dinners.  The home dining boxes have a hands-on cooking element and come with a how-to video from Matt so you get the feel of cooking in the kitchen with him.

“We get the mise en place ready and then everything is put into the biodegradable containers, so guests can see what to do for each dish. The video is quite upbeat, interactive, and fun,” he says.  His regulars rose to the challenge in style during the last period of lockdown, “We did a little competition of the best table setting and photos, that people posted on social media” This created a sense of social community at a time where it was really appreciated.

Where to order at home dining deliveries

Salsify at Home is one of four selected fine home dining offerings on the recently launched CloudChef website, in the good company of Stickman by Fyn and Tjing Tjing Momiji.

La Colombe’s Dine In offering can be ordered on their website through Dineplan.

Virtual Dining by Matt Manning will be launching his new Menu in June, but in the meantime, he is available for corporate, team building and private events of 6 or more people.

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