One fantastic part about living in New York City is that I’m surrounded by talented and passionate friends who actively pursue their dreams. Alex King is no exception. Alex and I went to college together and both moved to Manhattan after graduation. By day, he works in advertising. But thanks to his mother, he’s had a fierce passion for cooking since childhood. In early 2012, an idea was born from a challenge that men in the city often have. He calls it RSVP:
“In April 2012, a few friends and I were discussing the high expense associated with dating in New York City. After spending some time thinking about how to make dating more affordable for young professionals, the idea for RSVP was conceived.”
RSVP is a private chef service that officially launched at the beginning of this month, and is now accepting new clients from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens for Friday and Saturday nights. To put it simply, Alex comes to your apartment to prep, cook, and clean–all while entertaining with stories and educating about food. Curious about what a private chef experience is like? Keep reading.
Let’s be clear about the fact that my life is not filled with opportunities for private chefs to cook from the kitchen of my apartment. In fact, this has never happened before. But that’s what’s so beautiful about Alex’s idea. He takes a luxury experience and makes it affordable and accessible to young professionals.
In preparation for the evening, Alex visited my apartment for a consultation to assess the space, the appliances, and my hopes for how Friday’s dinner would play out. While Alex often cooks for couples or parties, I invited my roommate to join me for dinner after a long work week. We chose three courses from the bi-seasonal RSVP menu, which features both infusion and traditional dishes. Each dinner can include a choice of appetizer, entree, or dessert, with a complimentary bottle of wine.
Our first course was a Redwood Kale Salad, which was garnished with pine nuts and dried berries in agave nectar. As I was enjoying the warm salad, I told Alex that even people who claim not to like kale would like this salad. The other flavors make it lighter than expected.
While preparing the second course, Alex taught us girls some proper knife skills–traditional dicing and Hibachi style. I kept calling it Samari style. Our main course was Sazon Paella. I’ve never had paella before, but Alex explained that his recipe is infused with more American comfort foods than the original. This dish included rice, potatoes, broccoli, shrimp, and crab. It paired perfectly with the bottle of Vouvray that Alex chose.
Finally, we had an Apple S’more, which included caramel rather than chocolate. This picture shows the dessert only halfway done. Alex topped the s’mores with marshmallows and used a small cooking torch to roast them. The dessert was seriously sweet–exactly the way I like it–and the perfect end to the evening. An added bonus? Alex cleaned up the entire kitchen before heading home, then my roommate and I happily relaxed for the rest of the night.