It's been more than a year since we've heard much from Jason Febres, the Wichita chef who once appeared on a string of nationally televised cooking shows and led the kitchens in a string of high-profile restaurants.
Last we checked in, it was January 2017, and Febres and his partners had just closed their Taste & See restaurant after six years in business. Febres, meanwhile, had accepted a job as a sales rep with Indian Hills Meat & Poultry and said he was looking forward to a break from the kitchen.
Fast-forward to April 2018. Febres is still in Wichita, and he still has his day job with Indian Hills. But since we last spoke with Febres, a longtime bachelor, he's gotten married and soon will be a father. His first child with his wife, Liz, is due this fall.
In the meantime, Febres has started a side business that lets him stay connected to his cooking. It's called Rent the Chef, and over the past several months, it's gained more visibility and is in high demand, he said.
He, his wife and his parents, who used to work with him at Taste & See, have been going to people's homes and cooking elaborate dinners for them and their guests. The Febres group brings everything — including food, dishes and decor — and they do everything, including the dishes and all the cleaning up.
Febres has even hired some of the staff from Taste & See to work as servers at the parties. The chef, who has been donating several dinner packages to local charities, does his prep work in his church kitchen but finishes the dishes at the parties while people watch.
"It's extremely interactive," he said. "People can cook with us."
Febres said the cost of the in-home dinners varies depending on how many people will be there and how many courses the host wants, though he frequently serves six-course meals.
He also offers cooking classes and catering. He's been booked all year, he said, and works mainly on weekend nights. His calendar is pretty booked through early summer, and he's been posting photos on social media from his parties — which so far have taken place on fancy rooftops and in lofts around town.
If interest continues to grow, Febres said, he may expand the business.
"It's extremely fun and creative," he said.
For more information on Rent the Chef, visit the Facebook page. To book, call 316-308-5556.