In partnership with: One Fine Dine
hen the delivery kit and finish-at-home dining scene exploded at the start of lockdown last year, chef and entrepreneur Daniel Hulme was already several steps ahead of the curve. Having launched a luxurious in-flight service called On Air Dining ten years ago, and successfully rolled it out across the world’s most elite private jets, he’d been contemplating branching out into the home setting for years. It seemed like the logical next step, and lockdown provided the perfect catalyst.
“We went for it as a start-up just as the pandemic started to take hold, thinking it was now or never, knowing that lockdown was imminent,” Hulme explains of the decision to launch at such an uncertain time. “I had full confidence in our product offering and knew it would work well at home. It was definitely the right time – the service has been well received, and now we’re up there alongside many Michelin-starred restaurants. I believe the company is COVID-proof as our business model is geared up for this type of service; the structure is already in place thanks to our many years in the private jet sector.”
Fortunately, Hulme’s many years of experience in aviation meant he and his team could act quickly to get One Fine Dine off the ground to a captive audience. “We operate seven days a week and can deliver a huge selection of cuisines from around the globe within 48 hours,” Hulme tells Luxury London, explaining the innovation and know-how that makes One Fine Dine stand out from other delivery kits on the market. “It’s the quality of our behind-the-scenes prep that really sets us apart, allowing our customers to fully enjoy the luxury of the experience rather than having to spend hours following cooking instructions in the kitchen.”
Crucially, One Fine Dine is not a traditional Michelin-starred restaurant adapting its processes overnight to cater for home delivery: a hugely difficult task that, despite best intentions, will never reach the same standard. Hulme explains, “Our airline business was a bit of a game changer that allowed anyone to heat and plate food to the same standard as that seen in a first-class dining establishment. Our chef team were in place to make high-end restaurant quality food, instructing cabin crew on the finishing touches with easy-to-follow steps that can be done in a tiny plane. So we’ve simply adapted this.
“Our whole business is based on creating exquisite dishes which can be finished and plated outside the professional kitchen setting. We have spent over 10 years designing dishes for the most difficult environment – a private jet, which is dry, confined and offers limited space. So, because we were able to design menus for that environment, it was relatively easy to switch over to home delivery.”
Where many others have failed to strike that delicate balance between takeaway and fancy restaurant, his understanding of the luxury market has helped keep One Fine Dine ahead.
And what about the demand for fine dining in the home sphere? Certainly at the beginning of the pandemic people were all about rustic recipes, like sourdough or banana bread, foraging and making do. But the success of One Fine Dine shows that the lust for elite dining never really went away. “The feedback has been amazing,” Hulme comments. “In fact some customers have said the experience of eating this high level of cuisine is even better enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your own home. We’ve partnered with brands like Dom Perignon, and there is real appeal in that for people looking to mark a special occasion.”
When asked for his favourite dishes, Hulme is spoilt for choice. “My favourite starter has to be our Scottish balik salmon with compressed apple and Oscietra caviar. It has the best balance of flavours. The balik cut is my favourite, widely agreed to be the best in the world. From our mains selection at the moment, it’s our North Atlantic miso cod. The flavours are incredible – when you serve this on a private jet the smell is just divine, and everyone wants to know what it is! For dessert, hands down it has to be our tarte tatin.”
So, does Hulme think the world of fine dining will have to change as we emerge from the pandemic? “Yes, I do think the luxury market will have to adapt. Moving forward I think there will be more focus on micro events, where we will cater for events with six to 20 people. We will send our fine dining products to their venue of choice, along with a chef to cook in person at these events. That’s how I envisage the future.”