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The Return of the Dinner Party in Hampshire is less Downton Abbey and more Come Dine With Me, says Ovenu Eastleigh’s Giles Layton

The rising cost of foodstuffs and an ongoing sense of post-pandemic freedom has triggered a resurgence in the popularity of dinner parties, according to Giles Layton of oven valeting service Ovenu Eastleigh.

However, these days dinner parties are much less formal – less Downton Abbey, and more Come Dine With Me! According to Giles, who launched the business last summer, while clients continue to socialise with friends and families in their homes and outdoor spaces, guests are also contributing to the dining experience.

The grandfather-of-two, who lives in Eastleigh, said: “People are continuing their love of cooking that many rediscovered during the pandemic, but the cost of living crisis has seen guests chipping in to reduce the overall expense by making a culinary contribution, whether that’s bringing along a starter, dessert or part of the mains.

“The cost of takeaways and eating out is spiralling, but people still want that social experience, which is why dinner parties are making a comeback.

“However, it’s less Downton Abbey and more Come Dine With Me, partly because people enjoy a relaxed get together and partly because modern homes are more open plan and lend themselves to people ‘grazing’ rather than sitting down at a dining table.

“I’ve continued to see an increase in demand for oven cleaning, which reflects the fact that more people are cooking and baking regularly, and clients appreciate that a clean oven not only produces more flavoursome food, devoid of contamination by grease and carbon, but that it operates more efficiently.”

Rik Hellewell, founder and managing director of the Ovenu franchise, said: “Anecdotally, Ovenu technicians across the UK are reporting that dinner parties are back. The 1970’s versions were synonymous with cheese and pineapple on a stick, prawn cocktail, and scampi in a basket, but fortunately, modern tastes are more varied and adventurous.

“In addition, the rise of social media and messaging services like WhatsApp, means it’s much easier to arrange and organise a get together.”

The Ovenu process involves dismantling key components such as the door, interior panels, fan, and shelves and placing them in design-registered tank equipment, which uses safe, non-caustic and biodegradable products to clean the oven parts. The whole process leaves the oven in a near showroom condition.

As well as Eastleigh, the business also covers Chandler’s Ford, West End, Hedge End, and surrounding areas.

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Giles Layton of Ovenu Eastleigh

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