Chef Janet Chan believes she has the perfect solution for people who want to cook for friends or host a dinner party but do not have the know-how or venue to do so.
The former restaurateur, who used to own and operate a Malaysian restaurant, has opened up her Mt Albert house to people who want to learn to cook and have friends over for dinner.
"Lots of people want to cook for friends because it's more personal than taking them to a restaurant, but don't think their cooking is good enough or maybe don't have a fully equipped kitchen," Mrs Chan said.
"I enjoy sharing my cooking skills with keen learners and also love hosting house parties, so I thought this idea will be just perfect."
She has turned her kitchen into a mini cooking school, specialising in Southeast Asian cuisine, where she can teach up to four students each time.
The students can then invite their friends over to feast on the meal that they have prepared under Mrs Chan's guidance.
"It's like having a dinner event at a home away from home," said Mrs Chan.
Among the dishes that a learner cook can add to the menu is rendang, a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia but is now commonly served among the Malay community in Singapore and Malaysia.
Other specialties include Malaysian chicken curry, char kway teow - a popular fried flat rice noodle dish and traditional Singaporean and Malaysian favourite, and popiah, a Fujian-style fresh spring roll.
As a side dish, students will also be taught how to prepare Vietnamese mint salad, which is prepared with plenty of mint and coriander leaves, fresh chillies and lime juice.
Husband Charles Chan said the inspiration to start the home cooking-dining business came from a friend who enjoyed Mrs Chan's food and felt this was a good way for her to share her recipes.
"It is up to people to put together their own menu, and create their own unique dining experience with their friends," said Mr Chan.
Melissa Lee, a National list MP, who cooked for friends at Mrs Chan's place last month, said: "I thought it was wonderful. Non threatening for novice cooks to learn.
"I learnt some new recipes and secret recipes of Janet's and I will be putting it to good use over the summer."
The classes are priced on application, depending on the complexity of the menu and the number of dinner guests.
Home away from home
Lorraine Ave, Mt Albert, Auckland
Learn to cook:
Rendang (Indonesian-style dry curry), Malaysian chicken curry, char kwey teow (fried rice noodles), Vietnamese salad and popiah (Malaysian-style spring rolls)
More information Ph: