Sarah and I had so much fun sharing our entertaining tips we have asked our A & O private chef team to share theirs as well. First up is Shanti…
Hey All… my name is Shanti and I am one of the other three chefs L & S work with. Short intro…cooking for 8 years, obsessed with all things food and fashion, especially love wearing pretty aprons. I LOVE dining out and even consider it a second job. So lets see, my Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules… or should I say things I have done and in turn you should NOT do…
1. Do not get sauced before the guests arrive. Being a tipsy hostess goes against all rules of decorum, not to mention you poop out before the party even gets started! Pace yourself and make sure you eat something other than chips and salsa. Ahh hindsight…
2. Be aware of your jewels and accessory selections. Although turquoise stones are pretty to look at, no one wants them in their ceviche. Save the prizes for the piñatas. I discourage long scarves, necklaces, shoulder duster earrings and the like.
3. Do not invite more than one man you’re dating. Although you will be tempted, don’t do it.
4. Have a start time and an end time. Then people will (hopefully) attempt to show up at a reasonable hour (Angelenos… I’m talking to you!).
5. People are there to see you and be social, do not spend all night in the kitchen, go mingle!
Did you see Lydia’s Top 5 entertaining rules? Numbers 1 and 3 are rules to live by! Here are my additions …
1. Plan a menu that can be done almost entirely ahead of time. Bonus: less kitchen clean-up on party night.
2. Light lots of candles. None of them scented.
3. Cook according to the season.
This should be obvious, but hosts repeat dishes they’re comfortable making even when they are a gross mismatch with the season. A good air conditioner does not make July a prime time to serve chicken with morels. Sure, it happens. But it shouldn’t. Bonus: your food will taste better, guaranteed.
4. Buy ice and lots of it. Buy twice as much as you think you need. Then add a bag. You’ll go through half a bag per person at least.
5. Give yourself time to apply lipstick and mascara and turn the music up before your friends arrive. Doing a little boogie in front of the mirror starts the night right!
Fun entertaining fact: MFK Fisher hung a mirror and kept lipstick in her kitchen so she’d always be ready to join the crowd.
What are your “rules”? The rest of our A & O team will be sharing theirs soon.
Fun with rules-who knew?!
All of us A & O Girls (did you know Sarah and I work with 3 other amazing chefs?) are OBSESSED with the new Bon Appetit magazine. Under Adam Rapoport’s direction the food magazine feels fresh, modern and super useful. I end up dog earring almost every page to save in my “idea” file and we try recipes from the mag all the time at work. Anywho I was inspired by a column in this month’s issue from The Foodist: Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules.
1. Always serve coconut cake and Papy Van Winkle Bourbon for dessert.
2. Recruit at least one friend to help with the dishes.
3. Invite a fun mix of interesting guests.
4. Tidy up your house but don’t go crazy cleaning it from top to bottom.
5. Serve dishes that accommodate your guests dietary restrictions and your own cooking prowess.
I really like this list but I’m lucky enough to have friends who always help with the dishes unasked (thank you TL/MS/KB/AJ/EO) and I never worry about my guests mingling well together as I only ever invite good pals. So my list is a little different.
1. Serve at least one store bought course (dessert or appetizers usually).
2. Start the night with a signature drink, people hate making decisions/this makes you look fancy.
3. Always buy one more bottle of wine than you think you need (never fails to get opened).
4. Force guests to play Trivial Pursuit after dinner.
5. Use the dinner party as an excuse to get your husband to tidy up living room and clean the bathroom while you do the fun stuff like setting the table.
What are yours? Maybe the other A & O ladies will share theirs soon? Here is our real dinner party advice.