In 2012, Stephen and Giorgio, co-founders of La Belle Assiette, embarked on a culinary adventure that aimed to revolutionise the way people entertain at home. The private Chef market was growing steadily in Europe and after a year of development to lay the foundations of the proposed experiment, in March 2013, La Belle Assiette was officially launched…
In December 31, 2013, Stephen, our CEO wrote the summary of a successful year. 170 Chefs had then already joined us and the team was growing with the 7 gourmets: Baudoin, Heleen, Audrey, Thomas and Pierrick, accompanied of course by Stephen and Giorgio. Late 2013 also marked our first beautiful press coverage, namely on France 2. We were by then also already offering our service throughout France, with big ambitions for the coming year…
Today, January 2015, 434 Chefs are online on our platform and our service is now available in five countries: France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and United Kingdom. A community of over 100 Chefs already exists in the United Kingdom and the team has since doubled, with 14 members in our offices between Paris and London. Last but not least, there are thousands of people who have enjoyed our services over the past 12 months.
To open the new year, here is a small retrospective of those moments that we shared together in 2014, with this community that trusts us, follows us, supports us and enjoys the unique experience offered by La Belle Assiette.
The year 2014 started in the best possible way, since by the end of January, we were already celebrating the presence of 200 Chefs on the platform.
In February, we were living through our first Valentine’s Day with this new online platform. For the first time, all of our available Chefs were booked for the evening and the site began to set new records of visits!
April marked a big step for La Belle Assiette. At the end of the month, we announced the first step of our internationalization: the expansion of our service in the Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The news was picked up by major media and blogs such as Techcrunch or Rude Baguette.
The first Chefs then started to join us from these countries and soon the first bookings were placed. It was a big challenge to the young team of La Belle Assiette, which began to go international with hiring dedicated to the management of these new markets.
Finally, April 2014 also marked the launch of our Instagram account. A growing number of our followers followed our Instagram account to discover the mouth-watering creations of our Chefs on a daily basis.
As for May, it marked the return of the heat waves, the refreshing energy of spring and the beginning of a summer season that allowed a true renewal in the menus of our Chefs. May was also an important month due to Mother’s Day. On this occasion, offering a La Belle Assiette gift voucher was on the top list of mother’s day gifts.
Moreover, several blogs included La Belle Assiette in their list of gift ideas including Les Petits Béguins, through a very (very very) beautifully illustrated article.
In June, we, for the very first time, participated in the Startup Assembly. It was also the first time we opened our offices to visitors. The opportunity for us to meet dozens of curious Chefs and customers that came to see us to discuss our service and adventure. A nice moment of sharing that our team truly enjoyed. Moreover, note that the office door is ALWAYS open.
June was also the birth of the “Private Chef Guide”. This collection of articles offers tips and tricks to the private Chefs and customers of La Belle Assiette. But it would also become a resource in this niche and would soon be enriched by dozens of articles that accompany private Chefs in their everyday lives.
July and August were high in lessons for La Belle Assiette. Due to the season, our activities were slightly weaker than usual but our desire was to compensate and even take advantage of this to highlight the unique experience of booking a full-time Chef. Summer holidays are all about relaxing. What better way to enjoy a summer break in your beach house than having a Chef handle the food preparation and offering unique and refreshing summer dishes during your entire holiday?
And our intuition was good since dozens of customers trusted us and welcomed La Belle Assiette Chefs for several days during their summer holidays. A real success that we plan to replicate this summer!
Then, September came! La Belle Assiette was back to work with fresh ideas : an original contest in association with Bureaux à Partager. #UnChefAuBureau, went viral, young french companies promoted on Twitter and through photographs, their desire to put an end to the sad “on the run sandwich culture”.
The winners? Cosmopolit’home and its victory-hungry team that collected more than fifty retweets!
At the end of the month, we took part in the first edition of Festival de la Fine Bouche. This culinary event brought together fifteen young French companies for a gourmet day in Paris. The opportunity for the team to meet the La Belle Assiette community again, but also to promote our service to the festival visitors on that day. A day to remember.
October came with big news. La Belle Assiette announced a complete overhaul of the design of the site that was put online after fierce weeks of work carried out by our technical team. This was also accompanied by a change of identity with a new logo, new fonts and new colors. We also explained our approach on the blog and through this video.
And as a big announcement never comes alone… It was also a time for us to formalize an important step in the development of La Belle Assiette: a new fund raising amounting to 1.3 million euros. For the internationalization of our service, its development and the recruitment of new talent, these funds will allow us to offer the La Belle Assiette experience to a greater number. The press also echoed this major event for our company. Techcrunch, Rude Baguette, Venturebeat and many others. Even the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, congratulated us via Twitter.
The month of November was big in London. La Belle Assiette participated to the winter edition of Taste of London Festival. During three intensive days, our UK team welcomed thousands of gourmets traveling to this major food festival in the UK. A really successful contact with our new and young English community.
The penultimate month of the year witnessed our first conference on “Entrepreneurship for Chefs”. Especially designed for theLa Belle Assiette Chef community, this day of keynotes and discussions brought together gourmets, industry professionals, and of course, Chefs. Success stories were told by, among others, Chef Alexandre Couillon who runs the restaurant La Marine**, as well as François Bergerault, co-founder of the Atelier des Chefs. You can also find the event’s report and podcast of the conference on our blog.
December closed this beautiful and active year. Very busy with an unprecedented number of requests for these year-end holidays, the team focused on meeting the desires of our community of gourmets.
We are very proud to have participated in the “La Liste de Noël de la French Tech” initiative. Relayed by major media such as M6 (a main TV channel in France) and welcomed by big politicians, this list of gift ideas for Christmas, all from young French companies, received a lovely buzz and quickly gathered a community of nearly 5,000 fans on Facebook.
Finally to complete the most of this wonderful year 2014, the last two months have been full of press coverage from, among others, France 2, Le Bonbon, Reuters or the Daily Mail that talked about us. The unique experience offered by La Belle Assiette seems to fit perfectly with these festive seasons and thus arouses the interest of all!
So that’s it for this retrospective of 2014.
The whole team is very happy with the work done and the adventure that we live with our community. We first and foremost thank our Chefs and their talent, without which our service could not exist. It was another wonderful year of collaboration.
But also a big THANK YOU to all our customers who have trusted us and encouraged us during every single day in our adventure. Already, thousands have been able to enjoy a moment with one of our Chefs and we hope that you will still be thousands more to discover our services in 2015.
Major challenges lie ahead for La Belle Assiette and the Chefs in the new year, with an unchanged goal: to offer you the opportunity of receiving private Chefs in your home without any effort, and create unforgettable moments.
We hope to live a wonderful new year with you. We can already tell you that great surprises await you!
Giorgio, Stephen and the La Belle Assiette team wish you a delicious year 2015, full of happiness, surprises and good cuisine. See you soon!
L.T. Sachs is a gourmet angel of La Belle Assiette board.