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Nowadays, it has become increasingly possible to spend time at home with your favorite chefs—by watching them on TV, for instance, or using their branded cookware. But through a startup called Kitchit.com, restaurant fanatics can now bring actual chefs into their home kitchens. No kidnapping required.
The site gives people with a chef obsession the chance to browse the profiles of seriously seasoned cooks, contact them via the web and book them for events of all kinds—like an elegant dinner party with a pajama dress code, say, or a whole-hog tailgate roast. Currently operating in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, with plans to expand to New York and Chicago this year, Kitchit has a roster of talent that includes boldface names like Traci Des Jardins, plus lesser-known cooks from renowned restaurants. Beyond preparing spectacular meals that would put most caterers to shame, the chefs might also teach cooking classes or lead farmers’-market tours. “When my mother and father came to town, I hired a chef to take us shopping,” says Kitchit co-founder Ian Ferguson. “Back at my apartment, he taught my mom how to butterfly a leg of lamb, then created a menu on the spot. My parents couldn’t stop talking about it.”
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The rooftop grilling party on the pages here represents another singular Kitchit experience. The chef is Jeff Banker, who owns San Francisco’s terrific Baker & Banker with his (aptly named) pastry-chef wife, Lori Baker. Their phenomenal menu—an innovative salad with feta, strawberries and almonds; salmon with lemon and dill, grilled on a cedar plank; brown-butter chocolate-chip cookies—would be perfect for your next summer party. At least until your favorite chef is on Kitchit.
Best Summer Dinner Party Wines
Baker & Banker wine director Chris Tang shares his value picks:
2010 Domaine Félines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet ($14)
Picpoul, a light white wine from southern France’s Languedoc region, is spectacular with all different kinds of seafood.
2010 Birichino Vin Gris ($15)
This citrusy Provençal-style rosé from a small winery in Santa Cruz, California, can pair with just about anything.
2010 Alpha Zeta Corvina ($10)
When it’s warm out, this versatile, vibrant young red from Italy’s Veneto region is refreshing served slightly chilled.