We’re excited to announce that our second feature is live on The Daily Meal. For this feature we updated Lydia’s Dinner Party Advice into our all-time top 5 dinner party tips. Guaranteed to make entertaining more fun!
Tell us, any you’d add?
As private chefs we spend our working hours planning, prepping and executing meals and parties for clients, but at the end of the day we’re still excited invite friends over for an impromptu dinner party. Here’s our top 5 tips for simple but fabulous entertaining, some of it gleaned from the great Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa fame.
1. Only make 2 dishes for your dinner party but make them really good. A prefect roast chicken served alongside a fresh green salad with homemade croutons will wow your guests yet is managable for a week night dinner party. Trust us, cooking is fun but also tiring and you have to shop, get the house ready and plan your outfit, so go easy on yourself and just cook 2 really delicious items.
2. The other dishes you serve should be entirely store-bought, like a berry pie from a local bakery, or something you just assemble together, like a simple anti pasta platter or lovely cheese plate.The store is full of delicious and simple appetizer and dessert items. Make sure you take advantage.
Easy store-bought appetizers include:
Soft goat cheese drizzled with honey, wafer crackers or bread and walnuts
Prosciutto wrapped around bread sticks
Sliced cucumber and warm pita bread with store-bought tatziki
Sliced baguette topped with blue cheese, melt in the oven and then top with a drizzle of honey
Olive tapenade and mini mozzarella balls with baguette rounds
No-bake dessert ideas include:
Store-bought pound cake served with fresh berries and lemon yogurt sauce
Good chocolate cookies (from a bakery) and fresh strawberries
Good brownies (from a bakery) warmed slightly topped with vanilla ice cream
Chocolate sorbet with this raspberry sauce
Fresh dates, clementines and good quality chocolates
3. NEVER make a dish that requires lots of last minute work. You won’t be able to hang out with your guests if you are stirring risotto during cocktail hour!
4. Dress up your house! Set your table before your guests arrive, place fresh flowers and candles around your entertaining areas like your living room or den and make sure you have some music playing softly in the background. When guests walk into even the smallest apartment that has a pretty set table, music playing and fresh flowers in a vase it sets the mood for a fun evening. Simple white votives flickering in juice glasses and one bouquet of brightly colored blooms from the grocery store placed in bud vases around a room can make all the difference.
5. Always offer a signature drink. This can be your “wow” factor. A signature drink can be as simple as beer or liquor from the same region as your meal, e.g. Sapporo if you’re making Japanese, a bourbon and soda if you’re going Southern. What’s important is that it marks this night as different and sets the tone for the menu to come. Naturally, you offer it up cold in a pretty glass as soon as your guests arrive.
Other signature cocktail ideas include:
Prosecco with a spoonful of lemon or raspberry sorbet mixed in the glass
Gwyneth’s dirty martinis
White wine sangria- fruity Sauvignon Blanc with sliced citrus fruit and a cup of lemonade all mixed in a pitcher
Bottle of rose champagne (so chic!)