A dinner party = a whole lot of stress in my opinion. Preparing the food (while dealing with 3 kids), trying to make the house look like a centre spread in The White Company catalogue (while dealing with 3 kids), trying to make yourself look presentable in 2 minutes before the guests arrive, pretending it’s all Mills & Boon lovin’ with Mr S.H.I.T. and you haven’t just told him he’s a useless **** because he forgot to put the carrots on, not actually being able to speak to any of your guests because you’re on red alert the entire evening jumping up and down, generally feeling that you might actually go and live on your own in a croft in the Outer Hebrides, and then weeping at the pile of dirty dishes you’re left with at the end of the night. As much as the idea of getting friends together in your home gives you a warm fuzzy feeling as you create the WhatsApp group ‘dinner chez nous!’, the reality is a whole lot of work and stress. And that is why we were on a dinner party hiatus. That is, until the online private chef company, La Belle Assiette, approached me and offered me a trial menu in our home for six people. This offer, I couldn’t resist. The first step was to go on to the website which is very easy to use – you simply put in your location, date and time of your event, then view the menus that are available on that date. The types of cuisine of cuisine on offer cover everything from French, Scandinavian, Korean to Russian and you then choose your price. The options are the Temptation Menu at £39 per head (described as perfect for any occasion), the Prestige Menu at £59 per head (a gourmet experience) and £89 per head for the Signature Menu (Michelin quality). All dietary requirements are catered for and you can add extras such as a children’s menu, canapés or a cheese course to your meal. I chose a sushi chef because we love Japanese food, and as much as I often whizz up a Korean or Russian meal on your average Saturday night, I have to admit, sushi is a step too far even for me and the local Sainsbos. As soon as I booked our dinner, Gianluca from La Belle Assiette was in touch with me, and he couldn’t have been more helpful and efficient. As promised, two weeks before my dinner Aki, the chef’s wife, called me to finalise the details and assured me all the food would be gluten free, then a week before the dinner, 6 beautiful menus arrived in the post. On the day Mr S.H.I.T. & I were a little apprehensive as to how this would work – would it be awkward having two strangers in our kitchen? Would we feel watched? How long would they stay? But as soon as Chef Sudo and Aki arrived at 6pm prompt as arranged, it quickly became apparent that we needn’t have worried. These guys know what they’re doing. They quietly and efficiently started getting the food prepared, and for the first time ever we realised all we had to do was get ourselves ready. A leisurely bath, actually choosing an outfit and taking time to do my make-up rather than smear a load of Rimmel on my face and hope for the best – this was a strange but very nice feeling. When we went back downstairs the table looked beautiful, the sushi bar was set up and there was absolute calm as Chef Sudo and Aki put the finishing touches to the starter which was ready for our guests to arrive at 7.30pm. Each course was presented beautifully and before we started Aki talked us through what we were eating. The food was delicious. Everything tasted exquisite. If this was the Temptation Menu, it was hard to imagine what the signature one would be like. La Belle Assiette say on their site “our chef buy the finest ingredients’ and this was certainly true. We felt like we were in a top Japanese restaurant in our own home. Chef Sudo and Aki were so discreet, just appearing at just the right time to explain the food or clear away our plates. All we had to do was pour the wine and relax with our friends. No jumping up and down on red alert. In fact, I actually sat at the table for the entire evening, with not a thought of a life without fuss on the Outer Hebrides. I really enjoyed myself. And as we were eating our delicious Matcha (green tea) ice cream, I turned round to see my kitchen was spotless – Chef Sudo & Aki had washed everything up and cleared it all away. That was a part of the service I hadn’t expected and it just topped the perfect dinner party off. They were so delightful, so professional, so discreet and made such beautiful sushi. I honestly can’t recommend the chef and the service of La Belle Assiette enough if you want to enjoy an evening in the comfort of your own home, with your friends, with none of the usual stress and effort that comes with hosting a dinner party. For more information, visit La Belle Assiette or tel: 020 3318 5003. Their service is available in all major cities in the UK as well as France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. I wrote this post in exchange for a complimentary dinner with La Belle Assiette, but all opinions are my own.