Young Illawarra chef Cory Keating is passionate about the elegance of fine dining and is helping educate - and feed - the public, one suburban dinner at a time.
Formerly employed at celebrity chef Matt Moran's hatted Sydney restaurant, Aria, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed Mr Keating into branching out with his partner Caleb Cooper with a new bespoke in-home service.
Illawarra Private Dining has been operating for just over three months, Mr Keating said, where he creates a dining experience in the everyday kitchens of his clients.
"It's me and my partner, he is doing table service and helping me plate the food, and I'm doing the bulk of the cooking," he said. "We prep in a commercial kitchen ... but we try to cook as much as we can in their homes so it's as fresh as possible."
He said the business has taken off in the little time it's been operating, and put it down to people feeling "safe" in their homes as opposed to the fear of going out in a world of COVID-19.
The "travelling restaurant", as he calls it, offers two-course or three-course sophisticated meal options for a minimum of four to six people - with vegetarians and vegans also catered for.
"We've tapped into the market of fine dining, because not many people know how that style of dining works," he said. "There's not many people doing that sort of thing in the Illawarra."
Types of dishes Mr Keating may prepare include pan seared scallops, confit baby octopus, roast pumpkin and fetta stuffed peppers.
"I go out and explain how we make everything, what we're doing and what it's supposed to taste like to ensure they're going to eat it properly and they know what they're getting rather than guessing," he said.
"It's also to heighten the experience for them so they know the depth and level that we go to, to make the food what it is, and they'll enjoy it more and have more appreciation for it.
"In Australian culture, people just eat to be full rather than enjoy the experience, and I think if we show people the road they can go on with food they can try different things and expose a food culture in our area."