AD – This blog post is part of a paid partnership with Chef Hat Home.
I don’t know about you, but when we went into lockdown, dinner parties felt like an absolute luxury. Having just moved into our own home, Dan and I were really looking forward to hosting friends and family. That excitement quickly dissipated come March 2020! Now that everything is heading towards some kind of normal, dinner parties are very much back on the cards. Today I’m really excited to tell you more about a brilliant local business, Chef Hat Home, whom I collaborated with for Sophie’s Supper Club in June 2021. Aaron Johnson provides restaurant quality cuisine in the comfort of your own home, as well as catering for private events and weddings. In this blog post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about hiring Chef Hat Home for your next special event and give you the low down on the food…
About Chef Hat Home
Chef Hat Home was born out of lockdown and launched in June 2020. Aaron is a fully trained chef who has worked in corporate catering as well as for local eateries like The Carrington Arms. Obviously, there wasn’t much ‘private cheffing’ to be done last year as MK was in lockdown, but Aaron continued to offer at-home tasting menus and tray bakes to make sure people still had something to enjoy if they were celebrating something. Once restrictions were lifted, private experiences could commence again.
Aaron places an emphasis on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients from a variety of local suppliers which is just music to my ears. The menus change with the seasons and feature ingredients that echo the seasonal flavours. If you attended my summer supper club, you’ll know that those flavours were bold, bright and fresh with a nod to summer BBQs!
When I asked Aaron where he draws inspiration for his menus, he said “It’s the food I like to eat.” He explained that he doesn’t profess to be an expert on food, but an expert on his food, which I think is a great approach. He continued by saying, “I became a private chef to cook food that I like to eat and wanted to share that with people.”
I did have an initial panic that our pots and pans wouldn’t be good enough for Aaron to use. But I needn’t have worried. He turned up with several boxes including full of food, professional equipment and even crockery and cutlery. This makes it the perfect stress-free dinner party – No washing up, no need to worry about your kitchen equipment. All you need to do is provide the wine, which I gladly did!
Some of the food had been prepared beforehand in Aaron’s own kitchen, which meant all that was left for him to do was cook the fresher ingredients like the meat and vegetables and plate it up. We asked for our first course to be served at 6:30pm and he arrived promptly at 5pm to begin preparing everything.
We enjoyed a six course tasting menu. Naturally, it was the autumn menu so we were anticipating rich, earthy, nutty, wholesome flavours that celebrate the season of harvest. And that we got!
The starter was ‘Mushrooms on toast.’ featuring Feuille de brick pastry, wild mushroom mousse, sautéed mushroom and black garlic mayonnaise. To garnish and add some freshness and nuttiness, a good sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan and chives adorned the top. What a beautiful dish, packed with texture and flavour. Mushrooms get a bad rep and I wholeheartedly think it’s because they don’t get cooked properly or paired with the right things. Soft, silky mushrooms with crispy pastry. It’s a match made in heaven, right?
The second course looked absolutely beautiful and had all my favourite things on a plate! Chicken, chorizo, goats cheese and that BBQ corn everyone went nuts for at my supper club. This dish consisted of a confit pressed chicken terrine, chorizo and sweetcorn arancini, whipped goats cheese, bbq corn, pickled shallots and sautéed chorizo. This dish was a beautiful farewell to summer as we transition into autumn. The terrine was tender and fresh which just contrasted so well with the chorizo. A flavour combination that you cannot go wrong with!
Next up we had scallops, cauliflower, curried raisin and apple. I am a huge fan of scallops – they are some of my favourite seafood to enjoy, and enjoy I did. Succulent, pan-fried scallops were surrounded by cauliflower purée, roasted cauliflower, marinated cauliflower, curried raisin purée and Granny Smith apple. This description doesn’t quite do it justice! The cauliflower was roasted and marinated – the marinated cauliflower had my tastebuds singing! A little lemon juice really brought out the sweetness and added a welcome zestiness to this otherwise rich dish.
The final main course was a Venison loin with a venison, black pudding and beetroot bonbon, beetroot ketchup, roasted walnut and pickled cherries and walnut complete with a rocket and walnut dressing and venison jus. Now, this is what autumn is all about. Rich game meat and the deep dark cherry flavours that have a wistful nod back to summer. I loved everything about this dish and it was a great way to round off the main courses. The venison was cooked rare and melted in the mouth (thank you Woburn Country Foods!) The bonbon was delightful and provided great texture. The cherries added a welcome sharpness, The rocket dressing was really refreshing and a great contrast to otherwise rich flavours.
And now we move onto the finale! And I can only apologise for the dip in image quality for the desserts. These dark nights are not my friend and I need a daylight lamp…
I digress – the first dessert was on the menu as ‘Pornstar martini’ but don’t expect a cocktail and a shot of prosecco. In fact, I’m not sure what I’d prefer now, but perhaps you will be tempted by the free-standing passion fruit creme brûlée, mango and passion fruit gel and prosecco and passion fruit granita for dessert? WOW. What a flavour explosion. The cremebrûlée was creamy and subtle, providing the perfect base for the sweet fruit gel and punchy, zesty granita. For some people, this dessert might be a bit sharp, but for me this was perfect and the ideal dish to follow the rich venison.
The final ensemble was a true celebration of raspberry – A raspberry parfait with white chocolate mousse, caramelised white chocolate, raspberry purée and fresh raspberries. There was not much wrong with this other than the fact we were slightly on the full side. Everything was perfectly balanced and the caramelised white chocolate was heavenly!
The menu was perfectly crafted in my opinion. It was an excellent show of ingredients, range of flavours and textures that flowed well course after course. Aaron said he cooks food he likes to eat, and this truly reflects in every dish.
Hiring a private chef like Chef Hat Home would be such a great way to celebrate a special occasion with a group of friends or family. Dan and I said how lovely it was to be at home – We really enjoy going out for dinner, but I think there is certainly an appetite for private dining like this where you want to have a relaxed, intimate evening. Plus, you can enjoy your own drinks and wine! Aaron was professional, friendly and it really was like having a chef’s table experience at home.
We will definitely consider doing this again with a group of friends. I don’t think we would even look for an excuse to host…
Chef Hat Home is a private chef business based in Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes. A six-course tasting menu starts from £70 per person. You can find out more on his Facebook page and on Instagram @chefhathome_. The website is coming soon! chefhathome.co.uk
Have you tried Chef Hat Home? Would you consider a private chef?
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- An exquisite afternoon tea at Woburn Coffee House
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- Returning to Paris House, Woburn
DISCLAIMER: This post is part of a paid content campaign. Click here for my full disclosure policy.