A few weeks ago I read about EatWith in the NYT (May 6, 2017). I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. A social-dining service that lets chefs cook at home. For strangers. For money.
I like to cook. I'm good at it. I know a thing or two about food--I was Food Editor at WNBC-TV News, and I wrote The Good Food Compendium (Doubleday) We have a gorgeous home on a beautiful beach with a professional chef's kitchen. (Think 2 WOLF ovens, WOLF cooktop, 3 dishwashers. Handy for events, right?) And it would be fun to meet new people-- travelers who are in town, passing through and want to dine somewhere unique.
So I signed up! My husband, who is a good sport, thought it would either be wonderful or awful. To my surprise to be accepted on their platform I had to do a Demonstration meal, which required that I post a menu, invite and book guests, and then post photos of the event afterward. A dress rehearsal for the EatWith folks, who apparently have had some chef-hosts leave patrons wary of the experience because the chef-hosts didn't live up to the patrons' expectations.
However, as several friends commented, You had to demonstrate for them? They should have been so happy to have you, they should have recruited you! Probably.
Anyway, this Sunday I posted and hosted my Demonstration Meal--a Seafood Paella rich with lobsters, shrimp, mussels, and delicious saffron rice. For dessert--frozen key lime pie. Heavenly. This is one of my all-time favorite meals. It is labor-intensive--the key lime pie alone takes hours to make. Squeezing all those limes?
Although the idea is that this dining experience is mostly for strangers (who pay in advance), on Sunday I invited friends (no charge) and there was only one stranger--a friend of a friend, Scotty from Scotland, who happens to be in Malibu this summer working with Ringo Star.
Today my contact, Zach, at EatWith commented that the photos from the event look amazing. That's nice. Then he said that once I have a few solid 4 and 5 star detailed reviews on my host profile, I will be accepted on the platform and able to create additional events!
Wow. Thanks. However, their social site, and thus my host profile, is so cumbersome to navigate, and difficult to post photos (impossible?) that I asked Zach if my invitees could send their glowing reviews directly to him?
I haven't heard back from him yet. Boy, what a lot of rigamorarole. Is it worth it? Stay tuned. Maybe I'll research if one of the other social sites --AirDine, Feastly--are easier and more host-friendly to deal with.