Home Chefs Around the World Tell us Why they Cook for Strangers

Home Chefs Around the World Tell us Why they Cook for Strangers

We spoke to our BonAppetour hosts about why they chose to cook traditional dishes for travelers who wanted to eat with locals.



Florence: “My family has been living in Paris for two centuries. My grandmother and my mother passed on to me the taste and the practice of traditional French cuisine. I like to add to it a touch of modernity. I've been cooking for my family and friends since my twenties and nothing makes me more happy than to share my passion for cooking”


Sandra: “Since my teens, I've been told that I can cook well. I have a strong passion for cooking, and I look forward to have the opportunity to share my food, with different people from all over the world. Also, to use this social dining experience as a chance to share some interesting stories together.”


Benedicte: “In love with my city I'd like to share a little bit of the Parisian life with guests from around the world”



Pamela: “Originally from Italy I’ve lived in Barcelona since 1999. I have travelled all over the world in order to experience and get to know other cultures, so I’d love to offer the same chances to visitors of Barcelona.”

David & Yuki: “For us, cooking is about telling a story, one of the most important features is generosity. What we love about receiving travellers at home is sharing a nice chat with people from different backgrounds during a cozy meal and sipping a nice Catalan wine together.” 


Teresa: “I have been all over the world and it is always nice to meet people, the best thing is enjoying a good meal with them. So I want to show you food from where I grew up in Barcelona. My Mum was the person who gave me my love for cooking; after that, the world, life and travel, did the rest.”




Alessandro: “I'm a true Roman living very near the Vatican City I've always had a passion for cooking, though I studied and practiced law for a while. I learnt cooking by watching my grandmother, Iolanda and my mother Maria Pia. As a child, I loved experimenting in the kitchen.

It is always a pleasure to cook for guests. I find it relaxing, rewarding and I am always happy when guests love my dishes. I love to experiment with new recipes, starting, by tradition, and then adding a modern touch to it, or even designing completely new delicacies!”

Simona: “It was impossible not to have a passion for cooking if you grew up in a typical Neapolitan family, with two grandmothers and a mother who prepared homemade pasta.  My own kitchen is focused on typical dishes of Neapolitan and Roman tradition. Now I want to share my passion with new people, opening the doors of my home to tourists visiting Rome or anyone who wants to enjoy the taste of tradition in a different way, in a more casual and comfortable atmosphere. I have a degree in law, many years of so-called "normal" jobs behind but when I wake up in the morning and I know I have to organize a dinner I feel happy! Food is culture, tradition and passion!”

Francesca: “It's every time nice sharing our cultures and knowledge and improve my english at the same time too”



Regina: I believe that it is important to live a full and authentic life, enjoy new experiences and be true to yourself, by doing what you love. Cooking is an expression of my love for my family, friends, and the good life we have been blessed with.

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When a Picnic in Tuscany Turns into Much, Much More.

When a Picnic in Tuscany Turns into Much, Much More.

On a hot Tuscan day Joey sat beside his girlfriend of ten years, Liz, as they drove through Chianti countryside. Originally from Australia, the love-struck couple had been touring Tuscany’s rolling hills in their rental car, with a dinner in a fancy restaurant organised that evening. Unbeknownst to Liz, Joey had planned something between these two events that would change the course of their lives- if it all went to plan!

As they continued down the open road, Joey pointed out some signs that had been put up under road signs, they read “picnic”. “I wonder what these signs are all about?  Maybe we should follow them and see where they lead us?” he said to Liz. Resisting the temptation to smile, Joey stayed cool and turned in the direction of the signs.

As the car navigated around Chianti, Liz thought aloud “actually a picnic sounds so nice right now. I would love to have a picnic, even more than a fancy dinner tonight, I wish we had thought of that”. The car came to stop at an old oak tree, Joey and the increasingly suspicious Liz got out of the car. Before them lay a picnic, on top of a wooden table. The Tuscan spread was not there by coincidence, BonAppetour hostess Deb had skilfully prepared a feast of prosciutto, salumi, pecorino cheeses, with fruits and jams. All locally sourced and presented just for them. Of course no meal is complete without dessert, so the couple had a double chocolate pasticcini to look forward to.

Joey had actually contacted local hostess Deb through the BonAppetour website, he wanted a special local dining experience in Tuscany. He had been with girlfriend Liz for 10 years and he wanted to ask her THE question of a lifetime: Will you marry me?

This proposal picnic was organised by Deb who set up all the signs that were dotted along the Tuscan roads, and had placed the picnic in her favourite spot, with views of the Chianti region. Joey said he would make the proposal within the first 15 minutes of their arrival. The plan was for Deb and her husband Massi to wait about 10-15 minutes, before arriving with a chilled bottle of Prosecco to give to the (hopefully) happy couple.

Arriving at the picnic table, the couple began to enjoy the local fare, and Joey attempted to throw Liz off the scent. He handed her a small box. We can only imagine the disappointment when Liz opened it not to find a ring, but a necklace placed in there! Luckily for her, both the ring and proposal for marriage came next. Deb and Massi described what then ensued “ We did not have to guess when the exact moment the BIG QUESTION was asked. We could hear the laughter, the joy and emotion in Liz’s voice from where we were ‘hiding’”.

Massi came forward to congratulate the newly engaged couple, presenting them with a bottle of Prosecco, complete with an ice bucket and two glasses. He ceremoniously opened the bottle with a sword. This technique is called Sabrage, and was made popular by France’s little corporal- Napoleon Bonaparte.

This was a magical day for Joey and Liz, one they will never forget. We are so grateful to our wonderful BonAppetour hosts for making this day so special. We got in touch with Deb and husband Massi to find out how they felt about hosting this experience with BonAppetour: “Doing this type of work is so rewarding, that it does not seem like work at all”.

If you’d like a similar dining experience in Tuscany with locals, get in touch with Deb and see what can be arranged for your day out in Chianti!

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An Authentic Kerala Indian Cuisine dining experience with Rani and her family in Singapore

An Authentic Kerala Indian Cuisine dining experience with Rani and her family in Singapore

I have never considered having a dining experience with another local from my own home town – Singapore. Afterall, it does not make complete sense for me to dine with a local when I am already one myself. But dining with Rani and her family was such a joy, that it completely proved me wrong!

‘Hello! Come on in!’ were the first words of my hosts for the night and I had to double check the unit number to make sure I was indeed in a strangers’ house. I felt so at home with the warm friendly welcome by Rani and her husband. Besides the cordial company that embraced our arrival, the interior of the house could be easily summed up in 3 words: modern, spacious, and homely. We had a nice chat while sipping the Mango Smoothie that our local host, Rani has prepared for us as a welcome drink. We later learned that Rani was from South India, and had been living in Singapore for a good 12 years with her Singaporean husband!

Rani and her husband were a perfect team in the kitchen! They worked like a pair of cutlery; it was a wonderful sight to see! As cheesy as it might sound, to me, Rani and her family feel like long-lost relatives. A gathering like this felt like a mini strangers’ reunion- unfamiliar yet heartwarming.

While preparing for Kerala curry dish, Rani would share with us the different spices that she used to enhance the flavors of the chicken. These authentic spices were hand-carried by Rani from India. Not only do they work great to elevate the taste of the dish, but spices such as turmeric powder also have a medicinal effect that could cure cancer and boost the immune system. It would be safe to say that Rani’s cuisine really does the job of nourishing the body while satisfying my Umami cravings.

A dining experience like this provides a sneak peek into the work behind the local food that I have always taken for granted. Despite being able to easily spot a Papadum, lightly roasted crisps in the public canteen, the process of frying one was an entirely foreign experience for me. Nothing comes more fascinating than seeing a flat dough crumbling into golden crisps upon meeting the hot oil. Perhaps this almost-magical experience was how the name of Rani’s kitchen magic came about?


I’ve got to say the spices and their fragrances does a great job in whetting my appetite because my stomach was grumbling by the time Rani and her family formed a human chain in setting up the tables in serving me and Fai, my friend who accompanied me for this experience. 


No authentic Indian cuisine experience would be complete without eating your meal with your bare hands! Rani and her husband tutored us on the art of eating with your hands, before long, Fai and I were able to eat Indian cuisine the authentic way. Scooping rice into our right hands, and moving our thumbs skillfully to push food into mouth. I guess we must have looked pretty amateurish because Rani snapped some shots of me and Fai out of great fascination.



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I really love how there were multiple conversations happening concurrently during the meal times, it was as if they are all fighting for air time. This dining experience is a really precious one to me because it is not an everyday affair for me that the whole family get to spend some common time collectively. Rani and her family definitely did a fabulous job in granting me the opportunity to indulge in an authentic and genuine company of true blue Singaporeans. Book your Rani’s homely dining experience here!  

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Vegetarian Food and Sichuan Cuisine in Hong Kong With Meenu

Vegetarian Food and Sichuan Cuisine in Hong Kong With Meenu

Hong Kong promises its travellers “every moment a different world”, and I have come to understand the gastronomic sense of this phrase when I was invited to dine with Meenu, one of BonAppetour’s hospitable hosts in Asia’s world city.

Meenu grew up in Hong Kong all her life, her international background and experience in Hong Kong has allowed her to study and perfect recipes from all around the world. Today, Meenu teaches various types of cuisine in her home, ranging from Middle Eastern, Indian, Sichuan, to Italian. She also helped to revamp the menu in two restaurants around Hong Kong.

I was lucky to be invited to a taster’s night at Meenu’s place. Her home is conveniently located near to Jordan, a shopping district featuring multiple night markets and malls.

Meenu's awesome table setting

Upon stepping into Meenu’s apartment, I found that she had taken the trouble to beautifully set up her dining table for her guests.

Meenu serves up some Sichuan cuisine

Meenu prepared two different cuisines for the night: Sichuan and Indian Vegetarian. The Sichuan menu included spicy dumplings, sauteed prawns in a sweet and spicy sauce, and deep fried sweet buns.

Glorious spicy dumplings

Guests that night were delighted with the dumplings and prawns, commenting that the sauce was really tasty and went great with the food. Meenu says that the dishes are really popular among her students in her cooking class, as the sauce is versatile and goes well with most other main ingredients.

Sauteed prawns in Meenu's secret sauce

The Indian Vegetarian menu featured home-made chapatis, mung dhal and aloo baingan (a potato and eggplant dish).

Vegetarian Indian food in Hong Kong

The aromatic flavours and rich texture of the aloo baingan was well complimented by the light and soft chapati and well-cooked dhal.


The food tasted great and also has a very manageable spiciness level – great for people who are just trying out Indian and Sichuan food!

Meenu and her daughter made a pair of lovely and chatty hosts. The night went on with conversations about food in Hong Kong, Meenu’s passion for food and her eye for detail when it comes to hosting guests in her house.

Meenu and her lovely daughter

If you want to book a flavourful evening with Meenu, check out her experiences for Sichuan cuisine and Indian cuisine on BonAppetour!

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