Are you looking for a way to dazzle your friends with home-cooked cuisine, but without actually having to cook or clean? You aren’t alone. Unfortunately, as an HBS student you’ve probably been spending all your time and energy on cases and interviewing. The dream of successfully embodying Julia Child to your kitchen’s delight is melting away, along with the slushy remnants of NEMO. Don’t fret. Thanks to John Feeney (OE), David Snider (OE) and Dave Werry (OE), there is a remedy for your dining woes, and that antidote is their successful Field 3 project: Chef’d Up.
Social Dining Reinvented
Described as “the intersection between fine dining and ‘foodie’ dining”, Chef’d Up is a social dining experience that allows you to bring Boston’s top chefs into your home for a unique culinary event. If you love hosting dinner parties, but hate the hassle of shopping, cooking and cleaning, then this service is going to become your new best friend. “We want guests to come away loving the food and the experience of having a chef interact with them in a fun setting,” said Werry.
And these chefs are sure to wow. Those listed in the Chef’d Up database (www.chefdup.com) boast impressive resumes and experience, having honed their expertise at a wide range of restaurants, including Blue Hill (New York), Alinea (Chicago) and even local kitchens such as Rialto and Flour Bakery.
The chef of your choice helps tailor a menu, within your preferred price point, that is both delicious and distinctive. “This way the host gets to focus on socializing with friends instead of spending the entire night in the kitchen,” said Werry.
So what sets Chef’d Up apart from a typical dinner out? Feeney describes it as, “a very different experience than going to a restaurant. Chef’d Up is unique because you have direct interaction with a top chef and you get to see the unrestrained creativity that chef exhibits.” It is not everyday that a restaurant guest scores one-on-one interaction with said establishment’s top chef. That is not the case with Chef’d Up. “Dinner feels like a culinary event rather than just another dining occasion at a restaurant”, said Feeney.
Success Tastes So Sweet
The team agrees that engaging with the chef truly makes a difference when it comes to enjoying the meal. Feeney remembers a favorite dinner moment with Chef Marc Sheehan, “With each dish, Marc would come to the table and discuss where he acquired the ingredients locally. He told us how he foraged in the woods near his house for the nettle plants in the soup we were eating. At that moment, I realized that a Chef’d Up event is truly a more vibrant, engaging experience than just going to a restaurant.”
So in case you were wondering: Yes, these chefs are pretty legit. They forage for your taste. But users must beware: you might have trouble cooking again after such a delectable meal is created in your own kitchen, with your own pots and pans. Remember that you HAVE to let the chef go home at the end of the evening.
FIELD of Dreams
This FIELD 3 startup began as many others do: with wild dreams of mad success.
Snider recalls the start up process. “We were looking for a viable idea that would be easy to test and wouldn’t require much up-front capital.” When Chef’d Up received a positive response from local-area chefs, they knew they were in business. “A lot of the process was acquiring the chefs, actually going door to door in Harvard Square. Seeing the number of chefs that initially showed interest validated our idea. We were excited to see that there were talented chefs interested in this platform,” said Snider.
A perfect example of a FIELD start-up success, the Chef’d Up team knows they wouldn’t be where they are without the HBS community’s support. “We appreciate HBS for offering FIELD and we’re grateful for its start-up investment in the business,” said Snider. Feeney adds, “And we want to recognize the original team members, including Lydia Gilbert, Marissa Steinmetz, and Troy Tomasik for allowing us to run with the idea.”
Time to Dine
Chef’d Up allows you to turn your apron over to the pros and focus on what you like to do best: socialize and eat. So in other words, if you’ve feasted at Grafton Street so often that you can recite the menu and you know which beer is on tap, it’s time to refresh your dining routine. Opt for Chef’d Up. It will save you all that time you had set aside to spend foraging for nettles in the suburban woods of Massachusetts.