DIY fine dining

With most restaurants either closed or operating at reduced capacity, the state of eating out remains in flux. While getting takeout from most places is a fairly easily achieved substitute, fine dining restaurants are another story. It is not easy to duplicate the elaborate serving vessels, complicated dishes, and precise plating. This has not stopped them from trying, however. The SF Chronicle’s Soleil Ho has sampled several meal kits from the Bay Area’s finest restaurants, and gives us a taste of the heights you can expect to achieve, and whether the kits are worth their expensive price tags.

While you won’t be able to replicate the complete dining experience, the food can still be memorable, if a bit taxing to make. “To prepare a seven-item dinner from three-starred Saison ($114/person), I flipped through a bound booklet full of color photos and 23 steps to follow, including carving the breasts off an aged duck,” Ho writes. Although that may seem like a lot of work for meal kit, Ho says that the work required can be an important part of the experience, noting that “What’s worth remembering, especially in this genuinely awful time, is that people still want to bring something beautiful into their lives once in a while, to find some way to rip ourselves out of the muck of daily routine.”

Some restaurants go the extra mile to ensure that you will retain as much of the experience as possible. Atelier Crenn’s staff wears the same posh uniforms (with matching masks) to deliver the restaurant’s signature dishes, and even include utensils such as caviar spoons. The French fusion restaurant O’ by Claude Le Tohic provides its seven-course menus on luxe paper, rolled up like scrolls and tied with the restaurant’s proprietary ribbons.

There are no establishments like these where I live, so I can only speculate on the experience. For my part, I am content to get the ‘normal’ takeaway from the local Mexican joint. The food is hot, tasty, and I didn’t have to make it. These days, that is good enough for me. Have you tried any fine dining meal kits? If so, what did you think of them?

Post a comment


  • Indio32  on  February 18, 2021

    Is the image of Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon?

    • Darcie  on  February 20, 2021

      I believe it is.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!