Hosting a dinner party can fill even the most adventurous with a sense of dread.
The stress of planning the menu, getting the cooking right and even cleaning the dishes is enough to put some people off having guests round.
But now a city chef is on hand to bring the gourmet world of fine dining into private homes in the Capital – and you can even pretend it’s your own work.
Stockbridge chef Paul Gunning has decided to come to the aid of stressed-out dinner party hosts by taking his fine dining dishes to people’s kitchens.
The Livingston-born 33-year-old, who has spent periods working in Australia, Manchester, London and France under well-known chefs including Marco Pierre White, said he could offer something different for people in the comfort of their own homes.
His St Stephen Street restaurant, Purslane, has attracted a loyal customer base since it opened in 2011, and Mr Gunning hopes his latest idea will become a new trend in the Capital.
He said: “We have always played with this idea. People want to have a dinner party at home but don’t want the hassle of preparing a meal.
“We can do all the prep in the restaurant and deliver it to the house. We’ll do all the dishes so there’s no cleaning up.
“They can pretend they have done it from scratch.”
He added: “I have got family in Dubai and it’s quite a big thing out there. My sister is a personal trainer there.
“One of her clients asked if I would go over and cook for 25 people. It was a four-course meal.”
Mr Gunning said he thought that there would be an appetite for the service in Edinburgh.
“I have got a regular who is talking about doing it for her son’s 18th, and another potential in the pipeline,” he said.
Mr Gunning said he would do most of the preparation in the restaurant to ensure he had all the equipment he needs, before travelling to the client’s house.
He will tailor a set menu to meet guests’ tastes, and prices can range from around £500 for a midweek engagement, to £1000 for a weekend dinner party, to cover the costs of closing the restaurant.
If you want to create a full restaurant atmosphere, Mr Gunning can also bring his waiting staff to look after your guests.
The exact prices will vary, but an example five-course tasting menu could feature butternut squash risotto to start, followed by pan-fried sea bream with Parmesan polenta, a roast cannon of lamb, banoffee pie and a chocolate and hazelnut parfait.
If you opted for a three-course meal, one menu option could be a starter of seared scallops with a celeriac puree followed by beef fillet with roasted Jerusalem artichokes, caramelised onions, wild mushrooms and a pancetta cream sauce, before a vanilla panna cotta with mixed berries, raspberry sorbet and a shortbread crumble.
“We want it to be as hassle-free as possible,” said Mr Gunning.