You may have heard of people having their various needs met at home through visits from priests, doctors, other care-givers and even masseuses. Now, a novel service has been added to that list.
Come Home Chef, as it is branded, is a personalized service that provides clients with the benefits of dining out at a classy restaurant, but in the comfort of their homes.
The man behind the initiative is Barbadian chef and entrepreneur Orwin Bull Dog Lucas, whose culinary skills were sharpened in England and who worked as the chef for global fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger for five years on Hilfiger’s private Grenadine Island known as Freedom Resort.
Forty-four-year-old Lucas, who owns Bull Dog Bar and Grill on Culloden Road, St Michael told Barbados TODAY the idea for the home service resulted from the findings of a random survey he conducted among women who overwhelmingly preferred being pampered at home instead of dining out.
“I did a little survey whereby I asked ladies what they prefer… either to go to dinner or for a chef to come home and cook their meals in their domain. To be honest with you, if I asked a hundred people, 120 tell me they prefer to be at home whereby they can get pampered inside their homes, whereby they can actually see the chef cooking their food and so on,” said Lucas, who worked for four and a half years at the prestigious Sandy Lane Hotel.
Stating that he had to place the private home service on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entrepreneur who had been cooking up a storm for the past 25 years, said Come Home Chef is a fit-for-purpose scheme, which can give the client as much as a seven-course meal and special lighting.
The chef who usually works alone, sets the dining table and if requested, can also provide any special cutlery and dishes for the homeowner.
Lucas, who opened the Animal Flower Cave Restaurant in St Lucy and worked for the predecessor of Cin Cin Restaurant and at Villa Nova, told Barbados TODAY he does not discuss the private home service on the telephone because it does not allow for a proper assessment of the clients’ needs.
“If you want something like that done [home service], we can have a sit down. I like to sit down and speak to the person to see their face reaction when I say a dish or ask them a question. For example, if I say Yorkshire pudding, I could see your reaction in your face… or I could say a chicken dish, but in your face you don’t so much want a chicken dish. I could read you where food is concerned because food is my life,” he declared.
“I prefer we sit down and have a conversation and I provide the stuff and at the end of the day I put everything in one basket and give you a total. You can get a three-course meal; you can get up to probably a six or seven-course meal,” Lucas added.
Asked if he advises homeowners on what he offers or if he finds out what they want, the veteran chef replied: “I listen. I listen to them… find out about them… what they like eating, their allergies. To be honest with you, a lot of Bajan people when they go out they have chicken… chicken is a norm. But you can do chicken in so many different ways.”
He recalled preparing a meal recently for a St Philip mother who is a chicken lover.
“I am not going to come and do a chicken leg for her or a chicken breast as the case may be. But what I did was to take a chicken breast and I pound it out so it becomes flat. Then I stuff it with vegetables, pepper jack cheese and put some healthy stuff in there as far as spinach is concerned… and then I rolled it in bacon to give it a circular shape. So when I took it from the wrapping, it looked like a bun. I would then take some butter and a little olive oil and fry it on a low heat,” Lucas said. He said he then cut it in a slant and it is ready to eat.
The internationally experienced chef said another benefit of visiting the client’s home instead of discussing matters on the phone is that he is in a perfect position to see the kitchen, which helps him to determine what items to bring on his return.
Lucas also made it clear that he can provide all of the raw material for cooking which includes, as far as possible, 100 per cent local produce.
“You can get anything. You can get red snapper, blackened red snapper. I try to use our local produce. You can get a yam and plantain mash. A lot of people never really heard about it… they look at yam and they look at plantain and they want to know how the combination goes together. But when they taste it, it is out of the box,” he added.
Lucas pointed out that the Come Home Chef concept is taken to a whole new level when it is used as a surprise gift for a spouse, friend or other special someone.
“For example, if the guys want to surprise their wife or girlfriend, as the case may be, they can call me… I arrive when she is not at home. I come and see what it is all about. I can even come into your home, set up your table, do a little decoration… the full works,” the top chef revealed.
He added: “If dinner is for 7 o’clock, I come, set up the dining room whereby I get disco lights… I am going to dress your dining room to suit the atmosphere like if it is a birthday, or wedding or anniversary. And I do desert to suit everything. So everything is planned from beginning right down to end.
“The reaction on the faces of the females is wow! Most of the time it is the males asking to do stuff like that for their wives, kids or girlfriends. Automatically you know, like ‘honey, our anniversary is coming up on the 25th… let’s go to dinner…’ and she is looking for that. So you take her up and take her around the road or carry her to a bar and then you say ‘I ain’t feeling good, let we go back home.’ When she gets back home she is wowed by what she sees,” Lucas reasoned.
Meanwhile, Lucas, who can be reached at 264-8046 also told Barbados TODAY that while his bar and grill business has been hard hit by the COVID-19 restrictions, he does not plan to lie down and play dead.
“I am a fighter. I am not a person who gives up,” he declared. [email protected]