Many of the best things in life are born out of romance. For INTUEAT founder Leo De Aguiar the idea to begin a platform that connects high-quality chefs to at-home diners to create unique experiences began with an uphill battle to get his then fiance, now wife, to move to Colorado.
In an effort to woo her to the city, De Aguiar thought to set up a private welcome dinner in his downtown apartment. “I must have reached out to upwards of 35 chefs in a few weeks period,” he said of his late 2018 attempt. That the effort only yielded a few viable results inspired De Aguiar to start Chef Connect — a similar concept that predated INTUEAT — in November 2019. After a bit of mid-pandemic pivoting, INTUEAT was launched in its current form in January 2021.
“The idea is to take the private chef experience and put it into everyone’s fingertips,” said operations manager Chris Ortiz. Colorado clients can choose from a roster of roughly 30 local chefs to create bespoke home experiences and magical culinary moments. The platform currently serves the Denver metro as well as Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen and the Western Slope.
At the base, there’s a standard minimum three-course offering for as few as two guests, the De Aguiar says the sky is the limit when it comes to how individualized and extravagant an event can get. No matter the case, chefs provide cookware and are committed to leaving kitchens cleaner than when they arrived. He also says that small kitchens are not an issue, with much of the preparation taking place in a commissary only to be assembled on-site in even the most meager of spaces. And while Colorado laws don’t allow for INTUEAT staff to deliver liquor pairings, the team is more than ready to work with a local liquor store to set up a curated pickup to match any meal.
“Instead of going out to eat, people need to go INTUEAT,” grinned De Aguiar.
“Think of INTUEAT as a facilitator for culinary experiences between clients and chefs,” said De Aguiar. The roster includes a variety of veteran chefs including Jesusio Silva, Deshaunte Longley and Brian Rodgers — the award-winning pitmaster who has been making a splash with his incredible plant-based cue. To top it all off, Matsuhisa recently joined the roster across Denver, Vail and Aspen. Booking begins as low as $60 a head.
De Aguiar hopes INTUEAT will help diners forge lasting relationships with the people who assemble their food. “It removes the hustle and bustle of a restaurant and allows those connections to flourish,” he said. While Colorado is the flagship market, INTUEAT launched in South Florida in July 2022, with Atlanta to follow as the pieces continue to come together.
Chefs can be hired directly from INTUEAT.