By: Vivienne Pearson
It’s the stuff of fantasy – having a chef in your home kitchen, preparing and serving a delicious meal. It is a fantasy that can come true, thanks to chefs who provide in-house catering.
Two such chefs are Liz Jackson of Celebrations Catering, and Manfred Rudolf of Divine Catering Byron. Both specialise in offering food within a house. Usually this is someone’s home, maybe for a dinner party for ten, a birthday celebration for thirty, or even a romantic dinner for two. It might be in a holiday house with a group of people who want to enjoy their accommodation and not worry about nominating a sober driver or how to manage kids who need to go to bed while the night is still young.
Both Liz and Manfred are seriously experienced chefs. I won’t reveal their ages but it is safe to say that both have years of experience in a multitude of places. Manfred’s cooking saw him leave Germany at age 19 and work in places as diverse as Bermuda, Canada, Kenya and New Zealand. Locally, he is best known for his stint owning the Yum Yum Tree cafe.
Liz owned Luscious (in the Byron industrial estate) for 14 years, running it as a cafe and a catering business, including supplying food for Bluesfest international artists. She currently coordinates a day of the Liberation Larder kitchen, a Byron Community Centre-based volunteer-run service that feeds people in need.
For their home-based catering, both chefs prepare most food offsite and undertake final cooking in the house’s kitchen. Liz reckons she knows how to operate every model of oven! Both enjoy meeting people and Liz notes that she gets to go to some beautiful houses as part of her work. Both enjoy using their skills to make a celebration special. ‘It’s fun to make things that people appreciate,’ says Manfred. Both know that being present in someone’s home brings a certain responsibility and that the food needs to take centre stage. ‘I appreciate that people trust me to be there,’ says Manfred. ‘My aim is to be invisible,’ says Liz. ‘I’m not there to be a star.’
Pricing varies considerably depending on the agreed menu, numbers, and the level of service provided; however, the cost is not necessarily prohibitive. ‘It can actually be cheaper than going out to dinner,’ says Liz.
Both chefs saying that cleaning up is all part of the service. ‘I leave the place spotless,’ says Liz. ‘I do everything,’ says Manfred. ‘I buy all the ingredients, cook, stay, serve and clean up.’ Ah, the fantasy is complete.
Information: Manfred Rudolf: www.divinecateringbyron.com.au | Liz Jackson: 0414 895 441
Liz Jackson with a plate of her friands – photo by Vivienne Pearson