You know what they say - when the going gets tough, the tough get someone to help them out with everything.
Well, at least that's the wealthy version of the saying.
2020 turned out to be quite the year for Benjamin Vaschetti to found his new venture Maison Benjamin, a bespoke luxury lifestyle and culinary concierge service catering to clients in New York City, the Hamptons, and Miami. A renowned chef and entrepreneur, Benjamin is blending his years of experience working in celebrated Michelin-starred kitchens across the globe (he even served as the private chef for the Greek Royal Family) with his passion for hospitality and impeccable European standards. Of course it also doesn't hurt that his wife and business partner Natalia knows a thing or two about luxury service.
Looking for a private chef to whip up a five star dinner, or grab some guidance on expanding your wine collection from a sommelier? Desperate for a planned-to-perfection exotic getaway? Just need someone to get your house in order?
It's no longer so hard to find good help these days...
With international travel still up in the air, which countries are you seeing clients booking the most this summer?
Europe isn’t really going to be ready for summer travel, but countries such as Israel that have a high rate of vaccinated people are popular, as well as remote locations like Costa Rica and the Northwest Territories.
What's the shortest notice you've had to get someone a private chef?
In just 3.5 hours before a client’s business deal celebration in Mayfair, London.
What's the most remote trip or experience you've planned?
Nosy Be island off the coast of Madagascar. It was quite challenging, as it’s very remote and there isn’t much infrastructure that we are used to nowadays, especially on this particular occasion for a young couple with a 6-year-old child.
Which of your many services has been the most in demand this past year?
Setting up COVID-19 tests and vaccine appointments have been the top two requests over the past year (and hopefully not moving forward)!
Craziest request you've had from a client?
I once cooked a steamed halibut for a dog.
What's the number one errand you find wealthy people want to outsource?
Definitely last-minute birthday and holiday gifts. Our specialty is in sourcing gourmet and luxury products from all over the globe, so clients often come to us for this service especially.
What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to luxury service?
Frequent last-minute requests. We can provide much better service with as little as 24 to 48 hours notice.
What's the rudest thing a client has done or said?
It has to have been the time a client did not show up to a private dinner aboard their own yacht in the Greek islands, leaving their invited guests alone and stood-up without explanation. That was a first!
When it comes to tastes, what do you think is the biggest difference between Europeans and Americans?
I’ve found Europeans have a deeper respect for and appreciation of the quality, origins, and source of their food and beverages. Being from France (I grew up near Avignon, in Provence) I learned to appreciate the art of cuisine very early on, cooking with my grandmother in her farm kitchen (long before the farm-to-table movement!).
Are there any particular dishes you feel never fail to disappoint?
Without hesitation, the Lobster Risotto with its unique delicate Mediterranean flavors that I use for that dish. It reminds me of my childhood!
What's your secret to mastering the art of gift giving?
Sourcing the most thoughtful gift specific and dedicated to the recipient, especially an item that evokes a fond memory.
What's your idea of the perfect getaway?
Any place with no phone service or WiFi available for the ultimate chance at relaxation.
What do you think the biggest drawback is to owning multiple homes?
Clients with several properties including yachts have a tendency to always want to be somewhere else than where they currently are. There’s always a kind of FOMO.
What are you most excited for next?
We’re gearing up for the summer season and are excited to officially launch our Hamptons services.