Chef Ken Durbin is often asked which restaurant he works at.
But as a private chef and owner of The At Home Chef, he doesn't work in a restaurant. "We help people create memorable, fine dining experiences for small groups from the comfort of home," he says. "It's all about helping the host and their guests enjoy each other, and just enjoy life!"
The process for creating this experience is simple. When someone reaches out, he gathers all the important details - date, number of people, and what they're celebrating - then he comes up with ways he can make their experience come alive one bite at a time.
“Typically when people contact me, they’re celebrating some type of milestone birthday, anniversary, or house warming,’” he says. “I’ve even done engagements and celebrations of life.”
He then works with the host to create a menu. “Many people have a specific idea of what they want, but some want chef-driven creations where I offer options,” he explains. “I ask about any allergies, restrictions or preferences, and then I finalize a menu from there!”
Durbin prefers to work with seasonal and locally-sourced produce and products. “It just tastes better when I can pick it myself or know who did just moments ago,” he says. “I have great relationships with lots of farmer’s and purveyors all over the region to help me get exactly what I’m looking for, and they make great suggestions.”
After the meal’s date, time and menu are set, the host can leave everything else up to the chef and his team. “We provide the food, the pots and pans, the plates and utensils, everything needed to make your meal possible,” Durbin says. “I can also make suggestions if you need someone to help with wine selections, a bartender, someone to help with the tablescape. Anything you need to make the dinner how you want it.”
“The day of, we show up an hour prior to when the guests arrive and we start integrating ourselves into the kitchen to getting everything set up,” he shares. “And then it’s really up to them the pace of the dinner and how they want it to go.”
During the meal, Durbin says they can either give guests desired privacy or facilitate an interactive experience that enables the diners to learn more about what went into their meal. “Some hosts want our process on center stage and it’s sort of the entertainment of the evening to see how their dinner is being made, while others just want food to magically appear. We’re happy to do either!”
Once all the courses have been served and bellies are full, the chef and his team take care of all the clean-up. “We like to leave it cleaner than when we arrived,” he laughs. “All the cooking and cleaning involved with having people over, we like to take all that away so you can enjoy all the good parts of having company.”
And that’s what it’s all about for Durbin: Enjoying life.
“‘Enjoy life’ is a mantra for me personally and professionally,” he says. “Being a private chef is truly a win-win because I help people enjoy their life, while I get the opportunity to enjoy mine.”
Special thanks to Justin Doyle Homes for hosting this month's "What's Ken Cooking" segment -- watch the video above!