Housebites is a new takeway business that's been going for about a month. It works as an online marketplace where customers can find and order from nearby chefs who cook up food in their own homes and then deliver it. Menus continually change based upon which chefs are on duty and what meals they're cooking that day. Last week, Londonist gave Housebites a try and, overall, we were pleased with our meal.
Ordering for delivery in the Hackney E5 area, our chef was Danny Jack, a recent arrival to Stoke Newington from Edinburgh where he “lived for four and a half years rediscovering my Scottish roots and honing my skills working in a couple of the city's best restaurants.” Tired of working “for unpaid overtime” and interested in being self-employed, Danny found out about Housebites via a Gumtree listing. At the moment, the biz is still a bit slow but he's “hoping it will pick up enough so that I can work six days a week as a Housebites chef from home and have enough business to match the salary of a sous chef which is the level I'm at in a kitchen.”
Housebites co-founders, Simon Prockter and Paul Birch, are hoping the concept will catch on as well. Says Prockter of the how their idea came to be, “I took a good look at existing takeaway and saw a few real problems" – average wage of chefs, quality of food, customers' relationships with existing takeaways, service and delivery – that he felt could be solved to result in a "real disruptive business that people would love."
So, is Housebites a loveable venture? Well, we enjoyed our one main course of coq au vin with two sides of nut and seed salad, two sides of greens with chilli, lemon and almonds and two chocolate cake with chantilly cream desserts. The damage? £21.68...we reckon a comparable meal in a restaurant would have cost more.
Our order was delivered by the affable chef Danny himself, within a reasonable time with everything packaged neatly (and sparingly) and plenty warm. One minor complaint was that the admittedly very delicious nut and seed salad had already been covered in a vinagrettee. If the dressing had come on the side, the salad would have been crisper and possibly even have lasted as leftovers, as serving sizes were pretty ample.
Minus was the atmosphere and theatre aspects of dining out, but the convenience of having a restaurant quality meal delivered to our flat by the actual chef was certainly a treat in and of itself.
Housebites has launched in several London areas with new chefs and areas being added regularly. All Housebites chefs are registered with their local authority just like any home-based food business and must have at least a level 2 hygiene certificate and insurance.
Disclaimer: Londonist tried Housebites upon invitation of the business.