Does all this pandemic cooking have you wishing you had a private chef—or, let’s be real, a skilled bartender—at the ready to prepare meals and drinks for you at home? A new Denver start-up provides exactly that: Mixn Match brings top local chefs and mixologists to you for ultra-special private dining experiences.
Mixn Match is the brainchild of chef Biju Thomas (formerly of Biju’s Little Curry Shop) and event industry vet Reed Rowley. During the spring lockdown, the two began connecting their out-of-work or underemployed restaurant friends via virtual and small group meet-ups centered around cooking. And they discovered that there’s both a demand for top-notch private cooking services right now, as well as a ready supply of ace hospitality talent looking for supplemental income. Mixn Match connects those dots.
“There’s still an opportunity to have really cool, interesting dining experiences even if you don’t feel comfortable going out yet,” Rowley says. “With these in-home events, you get that interactive, behind-the-scenes experience. It holds up as a model that works well during COVID because it’s all about intimacy and small numbers. I think it speaks to something that’s going to grow and expand after all this. It’s almost like bringing a restaurant to your house.”
The starting lineup of chefs and bartenders available for booking through Mixn Match is pretty impressive. Besides Thomas, you can hire Lon Symensma (ChoLon, Cho77, LeRoux), James Mazzio (a Food & Wine Best New Chef winner), Adrian Miller (award-winning culinary historian and barbecue expert), and other local pros to cook for you, either in your home or virtually via online cooking demos. Tanya Rivkina and Luis Alarcon (both of Cascades Whiskey Bar at the Stanley Hotel) are on call with the brand to mix you a much-needed cocktail. “We started with the chefs we know and love, but we’re having people reach out to us to join the roster,” Rowley says.
The cost of a Mixn Match event depends on the chef and/or mixologist you hire, but prices start at $1,000. That includes your chosen chef; a hospitality helper (translation: you don’t have to schlep plates around or do the dishes); and all the food and drink. With every event being fully customizable, the sky’s the mix-and-matchable limit, if you will. “We don’t want to be a caterer. Our goal is to do smaller, more interactive events. The clients that book one of these chefs, it’s not like the chef is in one room and you’re in the other. We want you to engage and learn and get those interactive moments with the talent you book. I think that’s what makes it really special and interesting.”
To kick off the service, which launched in late July, Mixn Match has partnered with Alfalfa’s Markets to give one winner a private four-course dinner for eight people cooked by Thomas. Entry into the contest is free, but a $10 donation to Food for Thought Denver, a group that combats hunger for local school kids, is encouraged; the donations help to provide school lunches and power sacks for the kids. You can enter and donate (or request pricing for your first Mixn Match event) here.