Young entrepreneur sees appetite for fine dining uninterrupted during lockdown and beyond
New site offers 5-star dining at home, pick your chef, your menu and prepare to be wowed
If ever you wanted proof that the COVID-19 lockdown gave birth to new ideas and innovative businesses, you need look no further than www.provisionchefs.com.
The literally mouth-watering online business was created by Mack Altidor, a high-end real estate associate and solutions-oriented entrepreneur with an appetite for fine food who realized if people couldn’t get to the restaurants they loved, he could find chefs who would come to them.
“I kept thinking ‘There are great chefs who have an international reputation and they are not working while people are sitting at home wishing they could enjoy the food they are accustomed to at certain restaurants,” said Altidor. “Why not put them together?”
Light bulb idea to launch did not take long. Like Airbnb or Uber, Provisionchefs.com is the online link connecting service to the served. And like what is now the world’s number one ‘hotelier’, Provisionchefs.com does not maintain a brick and mortar presence.
“I wanted to connect potential clients who either could not go out or, later, did not want to go out to a restaurant with limited seating capacity, with chefs who could come to their home and provide a complete fine dining experience,” said Altidor.
He set the bar high for chefs who would qualify to be part of the new online business.
“I did my research – who had worked where, what their reputation was, any certificates or honors they held. They either had to have taken the second or third level culinary course and I especially went after those who were selected for the national culinary Olympics competitions,” he said.
The user-friendly site is packed with enticing photos from soup to near-sinful desserts prepared by participating chefs. Eight signed on to begin with and other qualified chefs will be added weekly. Initially the plan was to serve Nassau and then move on to family islands, but due to the demand chefs are already being interviewed to qualify. Within minutes of the website’s launch on June 30, Provisionchefs.com had its first booking — a dinner for 10 in a private home.
“A wonderful experience with beautiful presentation, delicious food, professional and friendly service,” said one pleased customer. “These guys made my birthday dinner one I won’t forget. I encourage anyone looking for a fun, stress-free dining experience in the comfort of your home to try these guys out. They are fabulous.”
Altidor banked on the fact that if people were willing to order expensive suits and gowns online and take their chances with size, colour, comfort and flattery factor, offering the idea of a chef preparing an exquisite meal and a lasting memory would be a soft sell to the right market.
“I wanted the booking to be easy by creating a platform that allows you to go on to the site and book a private chef to create anything from a romantic dinner for two to a wedding for 100,” he said. Chefs can prepare in a client’s home or on a yacht. A server comes with every meal and for a little extra, the client may request a butler. A brunch for two that was ordered while Altidor was being photographed for this article came in at about $200. The client, who had planned to spend up to $250, was happy with the price.
For Altidor, who grew up in Abaco and turned down a pro soccer offer to pursue his business instincts, earning a handsome income while completing a degree in public relations and marketing from Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia, the new website is the latest in a string of entrepreneurial endeavours. A go-getter with a staff of 18 to handle his network of property management contracts, he is now thinking about adding more to his yacht services menu and, by the way, will likely be beefing up his fine dining at home site by including more concierge services. And, yes, he does practice real estate full-time as the leading associate at a luxury resort development on Paradise Island.