Dinner parties are fun – it’s a wonderful way for friends and family to join together over food, have wonderful conversations and spend an evening. But it can be stressful. Particularly if you aren’t experienced in the kitchen. Or maybe you aren’t the most confident cook. Luckily we are here to help to give you some golden tips for your next dinner party!
So what the five most important tips when planning your dinner party?
Let’s start with the first rule for any dinner party: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation! A great and very important first tip. It will keep you sane in the kitchen whilst cooking for all your friends and family.
Another important tip with regards to preparation: plan your menu in advance. A good way to keep you ahead of the game is to pick things that can be prepared ahead of time. This can even be the day before and kept in the fridge overnight before the big dinner party. This does not mean you have to compromise on the quality at all for your dinner party. It just gives you more time during daylight hours (when there is less pressure) to get your food together and on the table looking fantastic.
2: Short Cuts
On each course, the tip to go by is to have at least ⅓ of the dish prepared in advance. Giving yourself more time to focus on the finishing touches and completing the dish. For example, by having the white creme brûlée already made, this leaves you time to whip up some sugar nests which look fantastic and add the “chef touch” to your dinner party.
Sauces, potatoes, even green beans can be done ahead of time. Plunging green beans in to ice cold water after only a few minutes boiling means when it comes time to serve up the beans will only need 1 minute to cook. The ice cold water also helps retain the beans stunning green colour. These effective short cuts will help save time in other areas – and make your dinner party a huge success!
3: It’s all in the Detail
It’s all in the details – and a good dinner party becomes a great dinner party by going the extra mile. Especially on the finishing touches. These small details can be little effort but will make for a fabulous evening.
Go to your local wine merchants and discuss the menu with them. Find a bottle of red or white to accompany the courses for the dinner party. A nice full-bodied red to go with your rack of lamb for example. This guide can give you a great introduction to wine basics if this isn’t your strong point.
Polished cutlery is very easy to do and the results accompanied by a well laid out table can be impressive for any dinner party.
Flowers and candles on the table create both atmosphere and add to the overall ambiance. Just make sure if you have flowers that they do not obstruct the view of your guests: less is always more.
Another great tip for your dinner party is to do is a seating plan, mix up your guests (if appropriate) which encourages good conversation and changes the normal couples dynamic. Handwrite or print out some name placements for the table this in itself creates conversation and gives an aura of excitement to the evening. All these small little details combine to make a fantastic dinner party and all it really takes is some good planning.
4: Go for whole cuts of meat/fish
A great tip for any dinner party. When choosing the menu for your dinner party, go for whole cuts of meat. Know your limitations when it comes to cooking meat. Trying to cook ribeye steak 12 different ways is a challenge for any professional chef. Let alone for you, at home in your kitchen whilst trying to entertain guests.
Take on these tips: make it easier for yourself . Go for rack of lamb or whole fillet of beef for example. Make sure to have a good temperature probe and prepared cooking times. This so that you can achieve perfectly cooked meat.
Serve your meat either pink or medium-rare. Because if you have someone who wants it more well done, it’s no big deal to flash it in the pa).
It’s all about making things run smoothly and eliminating unnecessary stress. You’re cooking as well as hosting. So getting the balance established with all your prep before gives you more time to wine and dine your guests – and actually enjoy your dinner party!
5: Have a Back-Up Plan
Have fun! The key to any dinner party is that everyone enjoys them self, including the host! With everything prepared from following the above tips, you’ll end up with a fantastic dinner party. Always have a few back up plans, as not everything always goes right – but if you’ve planned for the mishaps then you’ll do great. For example if you have 12 guests and are making dessert let’s for argument sake say a panna cotta, just make two extra so if anything unexpected happens you have a backup. Simple things to keep your dinner party on track and keep you happy and enjoying your fantastic dinner party.
How can Polo & Tweed Help?
When planning your next dinner party hopefully these tips prove useful. And assist you in planning and executing your fantastic dinner party. If you need additional help you can always get in touch with Polo & Tweed. With high calibre chefs from around the world ready and available to come and give you a fantastic dinner party guaranteed. By using professional chef’s and catering, you’ll seriously impress your guests (and then you can take notes and attempt it yourself next time if you want!).