Jersey Chef Brings Private Dining to the Tri-State Area

Chef David Kirschner, a Marlboro native, launched his full-service private dining company, DineDK, in 2015.

Chef David Kirschner cooks for a private group. Photo courtesy of DineDK

Looking for a home-cooked meal that doesn’t require you to do the cooking? David Kirschner and his team have you covered.

Kirschner launched his business, DineDK, a full-service private dining company, in 2015. Kirschner and his team travel anywhere in the tri-state area to create an intimate culinary experience.

Born and raised in Marlboro, Kirschner has worked in casinos, hotels and chef-driven restaurants. It wasn’t until he became the private dining chef at Bar Boulud in Manhattan that he realized he “liked private dining experiences so much more.” The DineDK team helps curate menus from cocktail parties to cooking classes to intimate dinners, and clients are part of the planning every step of the way.

“People are always looking for new culinary experiences,” Kirschner says. “I saw the need for it in the market.”

Since the start of the pandemic, DineDK has seen an uptick in its business for private dining and small wedding parties, which happen to be the company’s specialty.

“It pushes you as a chef in a different way,” Kirschner says. “There are challenges every day, but it always keeps things interesting.”

What do you like about private dining?
David Kirschner: I realized I can get away from the grind of every day and get deeper with clients. I am able to understand who they are, what they are trying to achieve with their events, and how my menus help them achieve their goals. The camaraderie and teamwork that goes into private dining is way more interesting and profound to me.

How did you start in private dining?
It all started from my time at Tasting Table, when I did a couple events a week. I started getting a sense of what the private dining world was about. After that, I worked as a private chef for a family for a bit, and when their financial situation changed and I was let go, it was the first time in my career I took a second to look at what exactly I was doing. I wanted to see what I could do and be different from the average caterer.

What does DineDK offer?
We do full event production in-house for our clients and can do anything from recommending venues, rentals, hiring service staff for events, and of course, bringing Michelin-trained chefs into a private setting. We’re built to do an intimate two-person dinner up to large cocktail parties with 200-300 people. I recruited a lot of other chefs to join the team since opening and take on jobs for us.

Since opening in 2015, how has DineDK changed?
We have grown beyond a solo chef’s capabilities—from a side hustle to a proper business. When Covid set in, our whole calendar was wiped out. After doing a pivot into virtual cooking classes and trying to stay connected to our clients, we saw a small surge in business in September 2020. One of the biggest changes over the years is people’s habits. There are not as many corporate groups booking, and there has been a push in micro weddings.

How do you curate the menu for events?
The first thing we do is hop on a call with our clients and get to know their likes and dislikes. We have multi-course plated menus, family-style menus and cocktail-party menus. I like to say that the way one would work with an architect to build out the blueprints is similar to how we build out the menu with clients.

Do you have a favorite kind of menu or event?
We love our cocktail parties! Getting a ton of people in a room and having them experience a ton of small bites. I love to pack a lot of flavor and creativity into the smaller bites and give people something really unique. We love that type of environment. We have done holiday parties for the New York Jets, which is always fun.

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