In a unique partnership, a local personal chef is collaborating with three West Central homeowners to offer private dinners in their historic homes.
Beginning this week Chef Eric Braun of KneedaChef is offering five-course dinners in the three homes for $99.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. He can accommodate groups of four to 12 people.
Braun expects business clients to take advantage of the new arrangement. In the past he's prepared business dinners for local executives in their own homes, but he believes preparing dinner in a unique, charming, quaint historic home will particularly appeal to contractors and construction workers who "love old homes."
The arrangement offers another advantage to business clients over restaurants: privacy. In a business dinner in a restaurant, executives run the risk of bumping into competitors who see whom they are entertaining.
A dinner in one of the three West Central homes begins with the homeowners giving a brief, 15-minute tour of the home. After that they can leave. The five-course dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., and Braun says he'll be out of the homes by 10:30 p.m. "It will be as if we were never there," he said.
The homeowners get $125 each time their home is used for a dinner.
Braun comes into their house at about 10 a.m. the day of a dinner to start preparing the meal. Everything is prepared fresh at the home, not only for the freshest taste but also for the aromas. "That's a huge part of the ambiance," he said.
Clients get to choose from 15 appetizers, 10 soups, 10 salads, eight entrees and eight desserts for the set menu. "Any and all dietary restrictions will be accommodated," Braun said.
He uses the homeowners' kitchen equipment, except for the table settings and knives. He brings his own. "Never trust a skinny chef and never trust a chef with a clean knife case," he said.
Braun said he worked with the West Central Association for about six months to set up the arrangement. "People in West Central just love their homes," he said.
With a master's degree in food service from Purdue University, Braun also has worked with four classically trained executive chefs and three classically trained maitre d's. He has been an executive chef himself and owned a restaurant in Indianapolis in the 1980s. Since 2004, Braun has prepared gourmet, seven course meals for clients and their guests in their homes.
For more information, go to www.kneedachef.com.
Braun also is the exclusive personal chef for the Frank Lloyd Wright home here in Fort Wayne.
Called the John D. Haynes house, the Usonian style designed by world-renowned architect Wright is a private residence in Fort Wayne owned by a man who lives in Connecticut.
The homeowner, who wishes to preserve his privacy, will rent the fully furnished house to overnight guests. Braun has been chosen as the chef to prepare seven-course meals for house guests.
Those interested must first make a reservation with the Haynes House before scheduling a gourmet dinner with Braun. The Haynes House website is www.hayneshouse.org.
The 1,411-square-foot house is fully equipped and can accommodate four people. A two-night stay is required at $300 per night plus tax. No smoking, pets or children are allowed. A $500 damage deposit is required.
Braun will prepare a seven-course dinner at the Haynes house for a minimum of two and maximum of four people for $175 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Alcohol is extra and a $250 deposit is required.
The recipes he uses are from Frank Lloyd Wright's wife, Olgivanna.
To see menu choices for the seven-course Wright meal, go to www.kneedachef.com and click on Frank Lloyd Wright dinners.