Michelle’s grandmother suffered from dementia and although she does not remember Michelle, the two women bonded over cooking at home and sharing a meal together. It was the passion for cooking Hakka dishes that brings Michelle closer to her grandmother, despite her condition.
Today, Michelle is a SAHM and a host with Dine Inn Singapore, where she specialised in cooking Chinese Hakka Meals with recipes passed down from her grandmother.
Dine Inn is a community marketplace and online platform where guests can order authentic home cooked food and make new friends when they choose to dine at the host’s place and experience the local culture, similar to the food version of Airbnb.
This unique concept is the brainchild of Luke Lee, who is also an F&B co-founder of a variety of F&B concepts, including IKKI@The Metropolis, Park@Holland Village & FIVE bars.
Co-founder and Celebrity Chef Eric Teo who was involved in many local TV cooking shows and appeared in MasterChef Asia (2015) said that this new start-up, Dine Inn, will empower local home cooks and connect food lovers from all over the world who craved a taste of home.
Eating out in Singapore can be expensive given the high cost of living but people who host at home would usually give their best to their guests, which was what Chef Eric Teo firmly believes in.
Why Order from Dine Inn?
- Typical buffet catering required a minimum order for 15-20 people but Dine Inn is able to cater to small order catering with 5-7 dishes for a simple buffet course.
- Provides a unique culinary experience for both locals and tourists alike when you dine with a local family in their home.
- Customized tiffin/tingkat meal services according to your needs, including confinement meals, organic food, no MSG halal food, vegetarian dishes and nutritious meals for cancer patients.
- Offers affordable takeaways that are fast, good quality & competitive in pricing.
- Authentic hand-made cookies and festive goodies.
- Cooking/baking classes conducted at host or guest’s home, including Chef-for-Hire.
- A framework is in place for hosts to gain hygiene certification from the National Environment Agency (NEA) before they can be a host of Dine Inn.
My Personal Experience with Dine Inn’s Hosts
Recently, I have been ordering a variety of dishes, including baked goods, from different hosts on Dine Inn. On the first 2 days of CNY, I ordered Indian cuisine twice from Shaaleni because many of the Chinese hosts were not available. Shaaleni was very sweet to write me a hand-written note and even wrote CNY greetings on the delivery bag to wish me a Happy Lunar New Year!
I also ordered Salted Egg Yolk Cookies and Strawberry Cheese Hearts from Matthew to bring to my friend’s place for CNY gathering. Matthew then sent me an SMS to advise me on the storage and shelf-life of the bakes after my collection from his home.
I have tried both delivery and self-collection methods on Dine Inn but did not manage to try the dine-with-host option unfortunately, as my host’s son has fallen sick and she had to cancel my booking. The host was very responsible to send me an SMS to explain her situation and ensure that my refund was properly in place.
I ordered my favourite Almond Florentine Coins for my own indulgence from Sandra and she actually delivered it to my work place because her home is only a 5-min walk away from my office! We had a good chat about working life and cooking for a while and Sandra was very friendly!
On another occasion, I ordered the Rose steamed cakes with chocolate fillings from Sandra for my office CNY gathering and my colleagues thoroughly enjoyed her bakes.
One Sunday, we decided not to go out and conveniently, we ordered Dine Inn for both lunch and dinner from Annie, who was a TCM nurse who specialized in cooking confinement meals. Most of her dishes had lots of ginger in it to detox and expel “bad wind” from the body.
Although Annie’s confinement meals start from $28.80 per person for a 3-4 course meal (not inclusive of delivery fee) and is considered one of the more expensive meals on Dine Inn, I had not enjoyed such a healthy and nutritious home cooked meal for quite a long time as I mostly dined outside.
Today, I saw an interesting concept from host Linda Liu as I am always on the constant look out for new things to try on Dine Inn – the no menu concept.
This means that customers will eat anything that Linda cooks depending on the fresh produce she managed to buy for that day. Guests are still able to communicate their preference to Linda beforehand so that she can customise the menu.
Overall, I feel that home cooks on Dine Inn are very approachable and friendly who will go the extra mile just to add a personal touch for their guests. Although the taste and presentation might not be comparable to the food you are accustomed to in restaurants as these are home cooks, the hosts at Dine Inn are very receptive to reviews and are also willing to improve based on constructive feedback given.
Customers can also enjoy greater convenience when ordering from Dine Inn as the Dine Inn Mobile App is going to be launched soon!
Great news! If you want more people to enjoy your home cook food and bakes and still earn a stable income from home at the same time, consider becoming a Dine Inn host as they are still recruiting!
Interested parties can visit Dine Inn or call 6796 9340 for more information.