Editor's Blog

Eating out or dining in?

It's a Thursday evening at Square Up Media's office headquarters in Clapham's Tun Yard Studios.

It's after 7pm and most employees have gone home, but the lights are still on as a group of people huddle around the company's dedicated kitchen table, which is usually the setting for its Foodism magazine photo shoots.

But instead of cooking up a front cover image, the group is about to whet their appetites, quite literally, with an Italian themed three-course meal.

I was one of the lucky people in attendance, the occasion being a friend's birthday. It was an incredible night; the food was superb, the company second-to-none and it felt special to have our own, personal chef - Elia Carulla - just a few feet away.

Each course - black truffle tortelloni with parmesan; brasato di manzo al Barolo, creamy polenta and wild mushrooms; and handmade tiramisu - was proudly presented by Elia, who gave a brief spiel beforehand on the origins, or how it was cooked. (For example, did you know tiramisu, when translated from Italian, means pick me up?).

We could have gone out to a restaurant to celebrate, but we felt that having our own space offered that extra level of intimacy. Plus, Elia - I'm sure she has a Wonderwoman t-shirt hiding under her apron somewhere - takes care of the cleaning up, so there was no need to fret about dirty dishes afterwards.

I was utterly sold on the concept, and I chatted to Elia afterwards about how this might work for corporate events. Unsurprisingly, it's a popular option. In fact, Elia has one regular corporate client that she visits at least four times a week, for lunches and dinners, in their office.

She says: "Corporate bookings are definitely becoming more popular. A private chef experience is a great way to get to know your colleagues in a private setting. Dining at home is usually done with family or close friends, so the experience is very unique for corporate groups."

Elia works with the chef service La Belle Assiette, which even helps organise team building dinners and other corporate events.

It's certainly something to stew on.

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