You know this TV show “Take Home Chef by Curtis Stone” ? I can’t help but feel it’s similar but instead of bringing the chef to your house, you go to the chef’s house for your meal. We’re not talking about professional chefs, but home cooks. How many times have you seen food blogs posting up photos of their delicious food (like mine.. HAHAH ) and wish you can have that because you’re just sick and tired of eating out?
Well, Plate Culture is here to do that!
PlateCulture connects people who love cooking & hosting dinners to those who love eating authentic home cooked meal. You can taste authentic home cooking around the globe. Share culture over the plate. Each dinner is an unique experience where people share food, learn new things and build friendships all over the world. Guests have a unique opportunity to try authentic home cooked dinner while having a quality time with host and getting a real picture of the place they are traveling in. Hosts can showcase their cooking skills and meet interesting people not leaving their kitchen. Literally, we fit entire world in your kitchen.
So a couple of weeks ago I went to check out a dinner hosted by Plate Culture. It was a Lithuanian Dinner! There are more choices, Indian cuisine, Mauritian food and even just a casual dinner or lunch… Here’s how you can book your next meal.
Head on over to their website http://plateculture.com/ and click on the date you want to be all adventurous and eat in someone else’s home.
Results are out, these would be the homes available for your chosen time and date. then choose one that is most favourable to you. (see someone familiar ? Kelly Siew is hosting too!) be adventurous!
All hosts have a short description about their cooking style, what to expect in the meal and also a brief location. All you need to do now is click on the “BOOK IT” button and you’re almost ready to go!
Generally in most descriptions, there are no definite dishes to expect, because you’re going to a home, not a restaurant! But you get an idea of how many dishes to expect for the amount you pay. It would be a main, and a dessert, or just appetizers and main. Or even 4 dishes for table sharing?
If you have any questions regarding the meal, you can “Ask a host” prior to booking.
Once you click “BOOK IT” you would be transferred to this page where you need to fill in YOUR details. Especially food preferences. And also a little bit about yourself. Be true and don’t play games. I think if home cooks are opening their houses for people to come and eat, we also want honest people coming thru those doors.
After you submit, you would receive a confirmation email with the address of the host (and also contact number) And please try not to cancel the reservations…. it will break our heart…
So then, get ready for a meal… of surprises.
For one, you don’t know what exactly will be served. Two, you don’t know who the other diners are (if there are any) So I’d say, it’s a good place to meet some new friends and expand your network as well!
I booked for the Lithuanian Cuisine, and it’s hosted by Audra (one of the founders of Plate Culture)
For starters, we were served 2 types of hummus. We had this in the living room coffee table while waiting for other diners to arrive. There were 5 diners (inc me and another friend) in total and while waiting, we chit chat and got to know each other (sounds like speed dating HAHAHA) but if we’re going to eat on the same table, I reckon we at least know the names of the person sitting next to you.’
It can be a little awkward if conversations don’t get along well and there are no ice breakers. Some of the diners were Audra’s friends, so in all we felt comfortable and Audra, as a host has done a good job!
Saltibarsciai – Cold Lithuanian beet soup or saltibarsciai is made with buttermilk, sour cream, hard-cooked eggs, cucumbers and dill. This was very refreshing, although VERY FILLING. It’s traditional Lithuanian food where they have this all the time during Summer. I think for most people, soup are served hot, so this is a real experience of stepping a little out of the comfort zone.
For main,we had Balandeliai. It’s a cabbage roll dish consisting of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. We also learnt from Audra that Lithuanians consume lots of potatos and they can make many dishes out with potato. Since the country is cold all the time, potato acts as the carb-provider.
She also told us that in Lithuanian cuisine, the usage of spices are less compared to other European countries. This dish was truly that, simple and homey without being over pretentious.
Lastly, for dessert, we had Tinginys (she said it also means a lazy male person?) hehe Tinginys is a popular dessert in Lithuania. The dish is typically prepared with biscuits or crackers, cocoa, butter, sugar and solidified milk. Here, it’s served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
But that’s not all… we also got to try Lithuanian liqueur. T__T
It’s called Malunininku. 50% alcohol content T__T It’s a little caramelish and tasted abit like dark kirsch. I think this wasn’t part of their menu, but that’s the flexibility of dining in someone’s house.
This would be Audra, out lovely host of the evening! And it’s kinda funny how we used tea cups as shot glasses instead. I think it’s all part and parcel of dining at home. You don’t necessarily find all plates and glasses to be exactly the same like how you do in restaurants.
I have lots of small plates with different designs, but only 2 pcs of each. So I’m pretty sure my guests would have some colourful plates on the table hehe.
We don’t always get to take photos with the chefs in the particular restaurant, but I guess with Plate Culture, we’ll be able to know the cook more and understand their passion and cooking. PlateCulture is a great initiative to introduce home cooking, be it authentic or not. I think the essence of dining at home, or just sitting around the table and having a meal together is an important tool in communicating.
Surely, dining in someone else’s home, or having someone unknown walking thru those doors right into your dining room may be unfamiliar and out of the comfort zone. But beyond that, we may all become friends or acquaintance once we step out of the door.
So what happens next ? Yours truly will be hosting with Plate Culture very soon. Be sure to watch out this space, and it will definitely have lots of desserts!
Oh before I go, here’s a simple recipe of Hummus which I made 1-2 weeks ago. After I had it in Audra’s place, I wanted to make some myself..
- 1 can garbanzo beans / chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 garlic clove, mash and minced
- 3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
- half a lemon, squeezed (or to taste)
- 4 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pine nuts
- dill or parsley
- In a food processor, combine the garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, water, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.
- Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and chopped dill.
- Serve with raw dip vegetables such as carrots, celery and cucumber.