Greycoat Lumleys launch ‘chefs in your home’ service

Butler Kit Innes, right, with chef Robert Owen Brown

Butler Kit Innes, right, with chef Robert Owen Brown - Credit: Archant

Butlers, private chefs, personal assistants... you can get the staff these days, from Greycoat Lumleys

Catering for large parties

Catering for large parties - Credit: Archant

As many of us are now opting to hire cottages for party weekends or lavishly entertain in our own homes as an alternative to restaurant dining, so the appeal of hiring a private chef has grown.

The advantages are many, including a more personal approach to dining, exclusivity and something that little bit different for our guests to enjoy.

Which is why Greycoat Lumleys has launched My Chef, a ‘chefs in your home’ service that encompasses everything from a family cook to a Michelin-starred chef.

Greycoat Lumleys is famed for providing high calibre staff for everyone from time-poor professionals who need help in the home, to a permanent brigade of workers to ensure the smooth running of a country estate.

A top chef can create restaurant food at your home

A top chef can create restaurant food at your home - Credit: Archant

Business is booming, with the northern office now in its third year offering the same quality of service and traditional values that have been available from the London base for the past 20 years.

Director Laura Harrall who travels around the region recruiting staff and ensuring they are the perfect ‘fit’ for homes and estates says: ‘We aim to create a bespoke service for the client and secure the best candidates for the job. All of this service right up to the point of a client offering a job to someone comes with no fee. You only pay if we find someone.’

Of course, not all of us are in the market for permanent staff. Some clients need only a little help for a special occasion, which is why I gathered together a groups of friends at Chels Barn, a holiday location just outside Macclesfield, run by

The idea was to meet and experience high-end dining delivered by none other than the fabulous Robert Owen Brown, a chef of some renown who started his career at the Michelin-starred Chester Grosvenor before further honing his skills in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the region such as the Midland Hotel and Reform.

Beetroot starter

Beetroot starter - Credit: Archant

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We were also delighted to have our very own butler for the day, Kit Innes, who not only served everything with immense style but regaled us with hilarious tales from his past. He even revealed how the society photographer Mario Testino got Princess Diana to look so amazing on those famous black and white portraits he took of her (hand on chin, look down, then look up and say ‘pooth’! Needless to say, it didn’t work for us).

Robert, famed for his ‘nose to tail’ ethos had created a light lunch with great depth of flavour. Everyone adored the starter of honey roasted beetroot with curd cheese, toasted cumin seeds and pansies and micro greens. For mains there was a perfectly pink lamb and sensational roasted Mediterranean vegetables and artichoke, served with a basil polenta cake, followed by spiced pear poached in port and rum, coffee and chocolates. It was restaurant dining in an exclusive setting. Perfect. How could it fail?

‘I enjoy this work. It’s definitely a trend that’s on the increase. I do a lot for business people now. They hire venues and they find it a little bit more discreet,’ says Robert, whose private chef career has taken him on engagements for clients in France, Spain and New York. He spent quite a bit of time on the West Coast of Scotland

‘They can plan a really different experience for their guests if they wish and talk about business freely in the knowledge that everything remains confidential.’

Clients can leave the menu up to Robert or, of course, they can collaborate with him to create their perfect meal.

‘Some of my clients just leave me to do the menus now as we’ve built up a relationship with them over time, while others like to get involved and I like that,’ he says.

‘The more information they give me about likes and dislikes, the easier it is to give them exactly what they want. I think people will be surprised by just how affordable it is. Going to a good quality restaurant nowadays isn’t a cheap option. If you hire a member of staff in and if you’ve purchased all the food products and wine, well, fundamentally you’re just paying staff costs aren’t you? Invariably it turns out cheaper than a restaurant.’

For more details about Greycoat Lumleys and My Chef visit

To hire a party venue contact Party Houses at