I WAS at a loss.
How was I here, a full half-hour before dinner starts, drink in hand, hair and makeup done, and chatting with my guests?
At any of our previous dinner parties – and there have been many – I would still be fussing in the kitchen, apron still on, having perfunctory conversations over the whirr of fan-forced ovens while my hands continued to julienne this or grate that.
But tonight, the table was set beautifully (not by me) and wine was already being poured (again, not by me).
It was magical and I liked this dinner party fairy a lot.
And the best part about it all? It has a name so I can call upon it time and time again to come cast its spell all over my house whenever I want.
Launched in Perth in mid-January, Intertain – simply put by its creators – is “Uber for chefs,” and is massively undersold as such.
“The chefs shop, prep, cook, serve and clean,” Intertain WA business development manager Michelle Mok said.
“It defies the conventional catering model and stands to disrupt the concept of at-home dining in the best way possible.”
We’re not talking that buffet table lined with bain-maries; instead, think chef’s table in the comfort of your dining room and you’re closer to the real picture.
My seven guests and I witnessed first-hand the beauty of this innovative online chef marketplace as we connected over a six-course restaurant-quality menu prepared by Oliver Buenviaje.
Like other chefs available via the website, Buenviaje has an impressive resume – featuring Hong Kong’s Lung King Heen and Dubai’s Burj Al-Arab hotel – and has gone through a stringent vetting process before he can don the Intertain apron.
In Perth, he joins Sophie Budd, Matteo Bassi, Herman Dsouza, Andrew Moores and Adam Hudson among others picked for their craftsmanship, experience and personalities.
Buenviaje’s outstanding menu for our dinner featured a slow-baked Tasmanian salmon with a miso and ginger syrup and minted garden pea puree, paired deftly with a 2015 Forest Hill Estate Riesling.
And yet again, we didn’t have worry about that.
Cue Mark Leake from Samuel Smith & Son who matched Buenviaje’s menu with a selection of top-quality wines, even carting in all the glassware.
Wine pairing is just one of the many add-ons available upon request, with the Intertain concierge able to assist with other options such as table styling and floral centrepieces.
On Intertain.com.au, the whole process is transparent.
Chef’s profiles, their menus and prices are available for viewing, and with a four-person minimum to book in, there are few questions that remain unanswered.
The wide range of menus on offer include canapé-style dinner services, shared family-style meals, degustation and high tea.
Prices range from $44 to $220 a person for a three-course meal, with canapés typically costing $40 to $70 a head.
But back to our alfresco dinner, which was now lit up by the glow of another spectacular WA sunset.
Conversation flowed, glasses were clinked and our senses were delighted.
As I settled into the treacly 2015 Vasse Felix Cane Cut Semillon that rounded off the evening’s delights, I declared that this was by far the most I had enjoyed myself at our own dinner party.
But it was the moment I stood up to bid Buenviaje adieu that I could have almost cried tears of joy – when I glimpsed my spotless kitchen gleaming back at me.