A Keene chef and entrepreneur is going it alone, offering interactive dinner parties across the region.

With the launch of Taste and See, Erik Willis hopes to combine his knack for cooking and love of public speaking to serve up innovative gatherings for up to eight guests at a time. Aside from catering traditional parties, Willis offers educational cooking classes; a team-building exercise that asks participants to cook the main course together; a lighthearted competition-style party that pits guests against each other in the kitchen; and a dinner paired with a motivational speech from Willis.

After being in the food business for more than a decade, Willis said, he’s found that public speaking is also his passion. Most recently, he was a cook at the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene.

He books speaking engagements for businesses, schools and individuals. Calling himself a well-rounded person, Willis said he can cover a broad range of topics and could even deliver remarks about a topic requested by a client, such as a speech about networking at a company dinner.

“Public speaking, it’s almost like a lost art and it’s so needed,” he said, adding that he hopes to help others learn the craft, too.

Willis can travel anywhere in the Monadnock Region or beyond to cater his interactive dinner parties, though he noted they often require a large kitchen. He also uses The Community Kitchen in Keene as a home base during certain hours, he said, and can host clients there for certain events.

For more information, call 209-0680 or visit tasteandseemc.com.

Sierra Hubbard can be reached at 355-8546 or at shubbard@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @SierraHubbardKS.