For those who love the idea of a dinner party but don’t know where to start when it comes to creating a menu with a real wow factor, the perfect solution may have just presented itself.

After several years working in London, Northern chef Laurie Curtis has moved up to Manchester and has ambitions to make his mark on the region’s dining scene, specifically in private dining.

His move follows several years working as senior chef at The Admirable Crichton, where he led a culinary team at events at the likes of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James’s Palace and Westminster Abbey. His influences are taken from an eclectic range of cultures and cuisines, with specialisms in British, European, Mediterranean and classical French.

Now living in Didsbury, Laurie hosts monthly tasting menus in the local area and has plans to increase this to weekly in the coming months. Laurie creates seasonal five-course tasting menus, starting from £65 a head.

Dishes on the current menu include:

  • Green eggs and ham – slow-cooked egg yolk, asparagus mousse, mushrooms, ibérico ham & brioche soldiers
  • North Sea halibut – mussels cooked in tuna nduja, seaweed pasta, sea vegetables & cucumber
  • Yorkshire goats curd tart – poached rhubarb, clotted cream ice cream
    & ruby chocolate

In addition to his tasting menus, Laurie also offers private dining services at people’s homes – creating exciting dishes using modern techniques, delicately balanced with traditional cooking at their core. Ranging from special occasions and work functions to dinner parties and everything in between, Laurie creates a bespoke menu to suit the event, ensuring all allergens and dietary requirements are taken into consideration.

Laurie can cater for any number of people – be it a wedding anniversary meal for two, birthday catering for 10, or a larger party of 20 upwards. And whether it’s a formal or informal menu, Laurie believes the market for private dining in Greater Manchester is picking up.

“When moving up to Manchester, I did consider opening a restaurant,”
says Laurie, “but I believe there is a lot of untapped potential in offering private dining and I’ve been really pleased with the take-up so far. People like being able to experience fine dining in their own home and offering the flexibility to work with them to tailor a menu according their tastes is a real benefit for them.

“I’ve been watching the food and beverage scene evolve at an exciting pace in Manchester in recent years and felt the time was right to come up and carve out a niche for myself. It’s been a great start so far and I’m looking forward to building a name for myself and boosting the private dining scene across the region this year.”

When creating a menu, Laurie provides the host with numerous dishes to choose from, including canapés, starters, mains and desserts. The host is asked to choose one dish per course for the whole party (vegetarians and those with allergies can choose separately) and two canapés. A majority of the preparation is done in advance, with the option of Laurie bringing his own plates and cutlery or using those belonging to the host*. Laurie can also bring waiting on staff and the clearing up will be done by his team, leaving the host and their guests to enjoy the occasion.

Laurie continues: “I’ve found people like the idea of experiencing fine dining without having to leave the comfort of their own home. I can work with the hosts to pull together a wine list that works perfectly with the menu or I can advise on wines which they can source themselves. The real advantage of private dining is that it truly is a bespoke experience at each and every event, with every detail tailored with that particular party in mind.

“I don’t want people to think that private dining is always a formal affair. At the end of the day, it’s all about what suits the occasion and I’ve worked with numerous hosts to create a more informal menu. Ultimately, I’m there so that everyone can relax and have a good time without having to come up with the recipes, source the food or cook!”

For more information, visit Laurie’s website lauriecurtisdining.co.uk

Follow on Instagram @chef_lozuk

*Laurie will work with the host regarding plates, menus and staff on a case-by-case basis

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