Dubai,  People & Chefs

ChefXChange | When A Chef Comes Home

Get to know the Chef and you will start to enjoy dining out even more. John Walters

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And how much better can you know your chef than when he comes home into your own kitchen to cook? And serves delicious food – course by course, and leaves your kitchen scrumptiously clean? It does sound like a fairy Godmother descending into the kitchen and creating magic with the wave of her wand and disappearing in the end, while you are left behind to rewind the good times and burp out loud without any qualm of other diners staring at you – after all this is your home, and you just tasted some fabulous creation out of a restaurant menu. ChefXChange is an online platform that lets you book a private chef ranging from a professional to an amateur one, interact with him before hand in creating a menu (that is, if you wish to) and let him/her take over your kitchen while you can do the darn job of pouring yourself your own drink!

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While there are many who would love to hand over their kitchen to others, I am quite the opposite. I love cooking, it empowers me and although Lady M has been consistently cooking for us for the last few years, giving over the reigns to an outsider is a huge challenge for me. Apart from this, the other challenge that I felt was the size of our kitchen – we lived in an apartment (this was before we moved out recently) and I feared that the equipment and the utensils were not be at par with a professional chef’s requirement. The evening was special with Big Z celebrating her 11th birthday. She is not only a foodie but also likes fancy and stylish meals – so ChefXChange sounded very special. We booked Chef Maxine Le Van who is the head Chef of Boca in DIFC, which boasts of cuisine from the Mediterranean coastal regions of France, Italy and Spain. I loved Boca and wanted to test whether the same experience could be replicated at home. Not only was it replicated (Maxime even brought the crockery from Boca), the evening surpassed all our expectations. We sat by the table for hours as a family and let Maxime pamper us by bringing each dish to the table. I love going into different kitchens and interact with chefs but to interact with a chef who is cooking for us, that too in our own kitchen – was definitely a novel experience.

What did Maxime think of his first experience of cooking in a different kitchen environment and interacting with a family from a different culture as well (he came from the Provence region in France with an exposure to the classic techniques of French cooking, I treated him to my Mishti Doi too)? Yes, the size of the kitchen was definitely a challenge for him (although he was familiar to the kitchen as he lived in a different building in the same block), but it wasn’t ‘a disaster!’ As he later said, ‘It is interesting and is a challenge. But it has been my pleasure to have been able to create a beautiful moment. When we are working in the restaurant kitchen we hardly get to interact with the diners and hear their feedback, but here it is a lovely feeling to see the plates getting empty and know first hand how the dishes fared’. The The menu was delightfully elaborate, finalised after discussing with him earlier regarding our dietary preferences (whether we ate raw fish, whether we had any food allergy, I definitely wanted the duck that I had tasted in Boca earlier etc etc). Delicious starters, breads and dips complemented the interaction and the food talk that entailed with Maxime – how he visited the Deira fish market everyday to get his fish and how the region of Provence and the fresh ingredients that grew there, shaped his cooking. So while we savoured our home cured Beef Pastrami served with mustard and herb Focaccia or the Grilled Octopus and air dried beef, Maxime toiled hard in the kitchen to bring out our next course – Black Rice & Seared Scallops. A gorgeous Mascarpone Crème Brûlée with Raspberry Compote complete with a candle (Maxime arranged even this) sealed the birthday celebration for Big Z’.

For more info on ChefXChange and booking your own private chef, click here.


How do you like the concept of bringing a private chef into your home? Would you love the interaction that follows or would you be happily watching your favourite soap on TV while a professional chef toiled in your kitchen to transport a restaurant experience at home? Or would it pinch you to pay a restaurant bill while eating at home in your pyjamas? For us, we simply loved the concept and our experience so much that we *gifted* a similar experience to a friend on her birthday. In a concept like this, the chef interaction itself is half the deal, and gorging on beautiful food that appeared out of our own kitchen created one of the loveliest culinary experiences that we, as a family, would cherish for a long time to come!

Unblogging it all… Ishita

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Disclaimer: ChefXChange hosted this experience for us and the menu that evening costed AED 325/person. The subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from these posts. Do join me on my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


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