Get to Know Charleston's Private Dining Service, Food Fire + Knives

Betsey Geier

Apparently, millennials are killing countless industries. Business Insider listed everything that millennials are killing from casual dining chains to napkins to banks. Traditional businesses like Applebee’s, Hooters, and Macy’s don’t appeal to millennials because they’re inconvenient, expensive, and frankly, just no fun.

I can say all of this because I am a proud millennial (is there any other kind?). And, while I have purchased a home and spent hours in home-improvement stores, I couldn’t tell you the last time I went into a casual dining chain like Applebee’s.

So, Business Insider, you might be right about that one.

Why haven’t I been to an Applebee’s? Or a Ruby Tuesday? Or even tasted those sweet, cheesy biscuits from Red Lobster in years?

Because cooking at home or ordering in is just so much easier. What happens when I want to combine the two? Enter Food Fire + Knives.

Food Fire + Knives can be found somewhere between eat-in and takeout. The business offers private dining services and cooking classes from local chefs with a passion for food.

As a customer, what can you expect? 

Customers can order a private dinner on demand by using the website, and they only need a few hours notice. Each customer creates their own menu, shares their allergies and preferences, and uses the sliding “healthy” scale to indicate how healthy the meal should be. Finally, customers can select additional items– appetizers, salads, soups, and desserts.

When Food Fire + Knives receives the order, customers get a confirmation text with the menu and a short bio of the chef. Then, customers just sit back and let the chef take care of the cooking and cleaning.

“We also have a ‘surprise me’ button,” Michael Casciello, owner of Food Fire + Knives, said. This is perfect for those nights when no one in your household wants to make a dinner suggestion.

Support and Service

The chefs have years of experience, and everyone hired has experience as a sous chef or executive chef.

“Being a culinary entertainment company, we do have to have chefs that are personable and obviously knowledgeable,” Casciello said.

Casciello is an entrepreneur, but also a chef. Part of Food Fire + Knives’ mission is to support the local chefs.

“If we give them support, if we let them use our equipment, if we help them with menu development, if we feature them on the website, if we do everything we possibly can for them, it really does translate over to the customer,” Casciello said.

In addition to helping the chefs succeed, Food Fire +Knives does everything it can to make sure the customer is happy.

“The next day I always follow up with the guest to make sure everything was perfect and their experience was exceptional,” Casciello said.

An inspired idea

People like hosting intimate dinner parties or spending a quiet night with their loved ones while enjoying the comforts of home. Why not capitalize on that mentality by providing a needed service to its customers and helping chefs earn a little extra income?

“I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America where everyone thinks they are going to be a famous chef or own a restaurant. The reality is that after graduating, you work for $9 an hour making salads somewhere, or washing dishes. It was a struggle living on $9 an hour with $1,000 a month in student loans and thousands of dollars in debt. It’s not a very good deal. It takes a long time to earn your stripes in a kitchen,” Casciello said.

He said that he appreciates his time spent in culinary school and notes that it has really helped him in his career. The idea for Food Fire + Knives came from this reality that chefs leaving culinary school can’t afford a normal lifestyle.

“That’s one of the main reasons we started this company,” Casciello said. “It’s to supplement chefs’ incomes.”

Local chefs curate the perfect meal using fresh ingredients and their own creativity. The chef does the shopping, the prep work, and the cooking. Next time you forget your anniversary, have friends in town, or just don’t feel like cooking, cleaning or leaving your house, try Food Fire + Knives.