Downtown Bentonville restaurant offers in-home chefs

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,406 views 

Executive Chef Matthew Cooper.

Executive Chef Matthew Cooper, owner of gluten-free restaurant Conifer in Bentonville, wants to bring the restaurant to his customers.

Conifer recently started to offer a catering service allowing customers to book chefs for off-site meal prep, such as at customers’ homes.

The Arkansas native, who was executive chef of The Preacher’s Son, said he did a lot of private cooking after he left that restaurant and while he was developing Conifer.

“I realized there was kind of a gap in the catering world,” said Cooper, noting that the new service offers “private, in-home dining experiences.”

“We focus on small dinner parties up to a certain number,” he said. “I saw a need for that. There’s not anything like that that I can find that sources the things that we do and how we do it.”

Cooper explained that menus are customized to customer preferences while maintaining Conifer’s gluten-free and sustainable elements, including farm-sourced ingredients.

“I’m always using the best local ingredients I can if they’re available at the time,” he said. “After that, the most sustainable or seasonal ingredients that I can get sourced as well as I can.”

The service will be provided by Cooper and the other Conifer chefs. Servers might help for large events.

Pricing varies per event and is based on the menu and guest numbers. Travel expenses might be added based on distance and if overnight stays are needed. According to a news release, one in-home chef starts at $150 an hour for up to four people. Groups of at least four who are served five courses start at $300 per person.

General manager Hope Ray is booking the new service and can be reached via email at [email protected]. Cooper encouraged customers to book early as they’ve been booking the service for this spring and summer. Conifer has about 20 staff.