Naked diners and exclusively red dinners: Private chefs' weirdest tales

'I was asked by an actress to cook only red foods. Not sure how long she survived on that diet...'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

From naked quad-biking clients and steaks for dogs, private chefs have revealed the most bizarre moments of their careers.

For most of us, a successful dinner party is one where 90 per cent of the food isn't burned and ends without any red wine stains on the carpet. But for the well-heeled clients of private chefs, Michelin-inspired dishes are on the menu and cooking is the last thing on their minds. 

We spoke to Sivlia Baldini - Food Network Chopped winner who has trained in Michelin-starred kitchens - as well as chefs Philippa Denton, MasterChef 2012 contestant Alec Tomasso, and Nick Fisher of online catering service La Belle Assiette about their most outrageous clients and memorable events. 

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One private chef walked in on a client cheating on her husband (La Belle Assiette)

What are some of the strangest requests you have had from clients? 

SB: I was asked by an actress to cook only red foods. She only ate tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries. Not sure how long she survived on that diet! Another time I had to prepare a meal for a family that didn’t like to chew. 

I also have been asked to whip up “special mushrooms” teas and pot brownies, which I declined. But perhaps the weirdest request was when a client asked me to prepare a birthday party meal for her cats. I walked out.

PD: I cooked for one lady every week who pretended that she had made it all, while I hid in the kitchen.

NF:  A client I cook for once a week also requests a meal for his dog with a starter of roast chicken and a main of filet of beef. 

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Silvia Baldini once cooked for a client who only ate red food (Francesco Sapienza)

Tell us about the most incredible events you have cooked for

SB: I cook in the UK and Europe for celebrities, aristocrats, and the A list here in States. A few years back I was hired in Palm Beach by a business man to prepare a meal for a meeting at [American socialite and designer] Lilly Pulitzer’s home. I served spicy pork belly mini burritos and pickled onions. When I peeked into the dining room, I recognised singer Rod Stewart and his wife, Penny Lancaster, at the table.

There was also a famous socialite who had the ear of a member of the British royal family. I was petrified. There I was, serving pork burritos to the A-list. But when I looked again, all I could see were broad smiles, happy sticky fingers, and a lot of people digging in for seconds.

AT:  London’s longest dinner party with one menu, 100 courses in under 24 hours! 

What weird and wonderful things have you witnessed at the homes of those you cater for?

SB: Most of my clients are fabulous but occasionally I get the odd one. For example a couple proceeded to have loud sex in the yard while I was in the kitchen and I could see and hear everything. Another client told me she had dogs, I’m great with them but when I got to her house I realised she rescued animals and she had more than 200 loose dogs in the house.

PD: I catered for a group on a weekend away in a private house. At one point all the guests were driving around on quad bikes naked. Another time I accidentally walked in on a woman who was cheating on her husband! Very awkward. 

AT: One host pretended I was invisible - she didn’t even show me the kitchen. The guests were more grateful but it was a very strange evening. 

NF: One client booked a luxurious three course meal -and when I arrived I saw that there was no dining table, so I served the guests on the sofa… 

What thing would you like to say to clients before they book you, but you can't in case you upset them? 

PD: It would be nice if the client could stay out the kitchen but you can never say that! 

NF: Smoking between courses and sitting down an hour late are real bug-bears! Also being told half way through service that they forgot to inform me that a guest is vegan and “could I just whip something up”.

 

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