WENDY Brookfield remembered her mum's home cooking when she became one of the first to try out a new 'social eating' craze.

The Old Hall resident invited strangers to come and have a Singapore-inspired meal with her at her house as part of WeFiFo, a website which aims to transform attitudes towards eating out.

It offers an alternative to dining at a restaurant and hopes to be for the kitchen table what AirBnB is to the spare room.

Wendy chose to make a three-course ‘Peranakan flavours of Singapore’ feast because her mum Catherine was born in the country.

"She died earlier this year so I wanted to do something which was a nod to her," she said.

"I never really embraced that side of my heritage as my dad is British and I’ve always been part of the UK and the cultures here.

"But the dishes that I cooked are the ones my mum used to make when she invited people around.

"Singaporean people are very social and hospitable and like people to come into their homes and share some food and drink."

So that is exactly what Wendy did but when she thought all her guests had arrived there was a knock at the door.

As part of a promotion for the website, the team behind WeFiFo filmed the event and secretly arranged for Italian celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo to join them for dinner as well.

Wendy, who runs a small business called Vintage Tea Party, added: "I was hysterical but it was really nice because he was very gracious and very sociable.

"I had no idea that there was going to be a surprise guest. I was carried away with the whole day. It was so hectic as I was preparing this big meal and the film crew were there and then Gino rocks up in his great big Porsche.

"It was really weird. It was a surreal moment because you don’t think a celebrity is going to sit at your table.

"He had all the food and seemed to enjoy it and gave feedback. It was a bit like Come Dine With Me. I think he liked the beef rendang and the pandan crème brulee the best."

Like AirBnB, WeFiFo comes with a rating system and the meal was a big success with Wendy awarded 4.9 out of five stars.

That was despite the distractions of a celebrity chef, a camera crew and cooking for six.

"My time management was pretty dire," Wendy said.

"I was being watched by the cameras and had to stop for an interview so I lost track of time so that was why there was a mad rush at the end.

"And then to compound matters Gino turned up. I was in a real fluster."

The idea behind social eating is that it is cheaper than dining in restaurants, cuts down on food waste, enables home cooks to make money and brings people together in the community.

"I wouldn’t mind doing another one," added Wendy, of Morton Close.

"I like the idea of one that brings people together in some way. You can do a singles night for example. I’ve always wanted to be a matchmaker.

"We were all strangers – even Gino really as we didn’t know him personally – and we all seemed to get on well.

"Having a meal together is an ice breaker. Sitting around a table does prompt conversations and the food creates talking points.

"Since I was 12 I’ve always been interested in cooking things from scratch.

"My mum had a big garden when we lived in Derbyshire and we used to grow our own fresh fruit and veg.

"We would make jam and then I got into making things like breads and homemade yoghurts. It’s intriguing. I like the creativity and improvisation of it as well."

WeFiFo has already won the support of well-known chefs and food experts, including Jamie Oliver.

And it does not have to be a traditional sit-down meal – it could be a picnic in a park, a cake-making masterclass, a wine tasting or another food and drink related experience.

- If you would like to host or attend a WeFiFo dinner or for more information about how it works visit wefifo.com

DAVID MORGAN