A local chef wants to give you the ultimate dining experience - at home. Click to devour all the delectable details.
Cincy Chic: What is the At Home Chef?
Ken Durbin, Founder of the At Home Chef: As the At Home Chef, I curate intimate, one-of-a-kind fine dining experiences in the comfort of your home that create memories to last a lifetime. When you hire me as your private chef, I work with you to design a custom menu specifically tailored to your occasion, source local, organic food, and provide a table setting to ignite the atmosphere you envisioned. All the cooking, serving, plating, clearing—it’s all taken care of–as you just enjoy spending time with your guests.
After the meal’s done, you can linger with your loved ones a little longer—at night’s end, you’ll be left with a sparkling-clean kitchen and memories that will last a lifetime. What’s best is that once I’m hired, I’m not just your private chef for the evening, I’ve now become your personal resource for all things epicurean—whether it be recommending a fine dining establishment or helping you source a rare food.
Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Durbin: It was my grandmother’s tiny kitchen in Pennsylvania where I learned to appreciate the process of cooking and the love of enjoying a meal, but it was never just about the food. I didn’t always remember what we ate, but when my family came together around that table—it was magic. And that’s the magic I recreate when you hire the At Home Chef.
When families celebrate an occasion, they go out to eat for dinner. They do so with the intention of creating a memory, but oftentimes between making the reservation, finding parking, getting seated in a crowded, loud restaurant, figuring out what to order, etc., it ends up being just a dinner. While there are many fine dining establishments here in Cincinnati, there’s just no comparison to the warmth and comfort of gathering in your own home, building that memory in your own environment.
I’ve always drawn inspiration from other chefs who believe in the feeling of food, not just the substance of food. The Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli, one chef who’s been a confidante and professional mentor to me throughout my career, is really good at articulating the emotion behind food. So that’s the spirit I try to emulate in the dinners I create.
Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
Durbin: As Ken Durbin, my metamorphosis into “Chef Ken” was not something that I expected, even into my late 30s as I was advancing through the ranks at Fidelity Investments. While the money was good, I spent a lot of time daydreaming of another life, struggling with the nagging question: “Who could I be if I wasn’t sitting in this cubicle?” So one day, I just did it. I quit my job and followed my passion into cooking school. I learned from the best working with the Chef Sean Kagy and many of the highly-trained chef instructors at Summit at the Midwest Culinary School. After I graduated, I was working as a chef for the University Club when a patron remarked that he’d love if someone could prepare a meal of the same quality as he was served in the restaurant for a dinner party in his own home. And it was then, I just knew I could build something like that.
Cincy Chic: What types of meals do you cook for clients?
Durbin: Every meal I create is a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure, custom-built for the client and their guests. I work with each client one-on-one to design a menu specifically tailored to your occasion, dietary needs, and culinary preferences, which are often high-end, gourmet but could be anything you want. I do source the food locally—it’s all fresh and organic.
Cincy Chic: What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
Durbin: Where I get my enjoyment is in seeing the food help deliver a message. When family or friends or business associates gather in your home, it’s not just a celebration, and sometimes it’s not even about celebrating. Sometimes it’s about strengthening a family bond, sometimes it’s about letting loose and partying with the girls, sometimes it’s about expressing gratitude and appreciation for the service of your top employees, sometimes it’s just about showing off your new gourmet kitchen. And occasionally it’s about goodbye. It’s about mourning. It’s about healing. And it’s during those dinners— like one I just had last week where the news of a sudden death in the family cast a different light on the occasion than had been originally anticipated—that I appreciate the transformative power that food has over people. Ever when a celebration is replaced by a loss, even when there’s a noticeably empty seat at the table, the magic of food around a table binds us and helps us get through it. No matter what the occasion, there’s nothing that can’t be enhanced by good food that’s artfully prepared.
Cincy Chic: Why should people choose the At Home Chef?
Durbin: I want to make memories that meet or exceed the best meal you’ve ever had. I don’t repeat menus or prepare meals ahead of time the way a caterer would. Everything is cooked on-site in your kitchen, so it’s just as fresh as you’d get in a fine dining restaurant. I strive to exceed the best meal you’ve ever eaten, because as the At Home Chef, I’m not just feeding your bellies, but feeding your souls.
Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the At Home Chef?
Durbin: I’m currently building a spin-off company, The At Home Chef Supply Company, which will offer many of the hard-to-find products that I use for my dinners, as well as some high-end apparel that reflects the epicurean spirit that the company embodies.
Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Durbin: My website is www.theathomechef.com. There you can learn more about the pricing structure, capabilities, and how to contact me to discuss your event. My Instagram ( @chefken ) is also a great resource to follow, as you can see many of my previous dinners there.