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13 Tips on the Art of Hosting a Dinner Party

Elizabeth Biscevic / November 21, 2015

Collin Hughes Photography

The holidays are just around the corner – and that means friends, family, colleagues, and more will soon be gathering around your dining table to delight in the comfort of delicious food and great company. Want your dinner party to feel like a Michelin star restaurant? Check out these 13 tips to find out how!

New tasting menu w/ 광주요 #정식당 #광주요

A photo posted by JungsikYim (@chefjungsik) on

1. Theme it.

Corn chowder, paella, fried chicken, and cheesecake just doesn’t make sense, right? Theme and plan out the full menu before you start cooking. If you make the best paella in town, serve Spanish-style tapas as an appetizer and end with churros con chocolate.

 

2. Make the colors pop.

If you’re serving cooked greens, blanching in boiling water and then shocking in ice water is an easy way to preserve their vibrant colors. Yes, it requires some extra time, but it’s totally worth it for the end result.

 

Tis’ the season. #asparagus #meadowoodculinarygarden #afternoonprep

A photo posted by The Restaurant at Meadowood (@therestaurantmw) on

3.  Prep the Kitchen Before You Start Cooking.

Get the little things in order before you start making the dishes, and do what you can ahead of time to save you time the day of the party. For example, cut your veggies in advance, make the the sauces the night before, and make sure your garnishes are ready for serving. This will add a level of ease when the cooking begins and make the process smoother throughout the night.

 

Dogfish with asparagus, holy thistle, smoked egg yolk, and a white beer emulsion by @kapiteinkok #TheArtOfPlating

A photo posted by The Art of Plating (@theartofplating) on

4. Less is More On the Plate.

You worked hard preparing your meal, and we’re sure it’s delicious – but opt for beauty over glutton when serving your guests. It also makes guests savor each bit, rather than getting too full and getting bored of the meal.

 

5. Mix and Match Your Ceramics if You Don’t Have Traditional White Plates.

The extra white space when using a white plate adds drama and makes the course more visually appealing. However, if you don’t have a set of white plates, mix and match ceramics in a unique color scheme for a modern and eye-catching look.

 

6. Add drizzles and drops.

Get creative with your dishes. Add a drizzle of olive oil or even a dollop of that potato puree you just made to your main course for a sophisticated look.

 

Strategically plating the next course. @kobewulf #12days2014 #day3

A photo posted by The Restaurant at Meadowood (@therestaurantmw) on

7. Assemble food on plates in the kitchen.

This is known as “plating up” and makes the dinner feel more formal and pulled-together. Also, it ensures you have control over the final presentation. You can keep sauces, spills and mistakes in the privacy of your own kitchen, so your guests only see the great meal you prepared!

 

8. Serve soups at the table.

Just like some restaurants pour the soup at the table, do this when you’re hosting your own dinner party. This keeps the stress off trying to transport hot dishes from the kitchen to the table – and also keeps your guests (and your hands!) safe from any trips or spills.

 

Brief moments of the most beautiful light. #gatheringslikethese

A photo posted by Grace Ban (@lagracieuse) on

9. Take your time in between courses.

Dinner parties should be lively, but relaxing and stress-free. So, take your time between courses. Serve the next course around 10-15 minutes after the last person finishes eating. This gives your guests time to digest their food, make conversation, and enjoy each other’s company without feeling rushed. Dessert and coffee can be served up to 20 minutes after guests have finished.

 

#thebroad #dtla #artislife #museumnight #dirtydishes

A photo posted by Norma Santiago (@hey.norma) on

10. Clear dishes two plates at a time, starting from the right.

This not only keeps things neat and organized, but also makes it so that you won’t surprise or bump into guests while they’re eating.

 

11. Serve cream, sugar, and dessert toppings at the table.

When it comes to adding sweetness, let your guests decide how much they want to indulge. If you’re serving coffee with dessert, bring the cream and sugar to the table. If you’re serving topping options with dessert, let your guests pick and choose what they want to enjoy.

 

12. Always serve yourself last.

This probably goes without saying, but if you’re hosting a dinner party, make sure your guests are comfortable before you are. Serve them first and ask if need anything else before sitting down to join them.

 

The chicest #NYFW dinner with @fohrcard x @kennethcole ! Thank you for having me and all these amazing & talented bloggers ! #yaynewfriends

A photo posted by by Jeanne Grey | OG granny (@thegreylayers) on

13. Have fun.

It is a party after all! There’s no need to stress or worry. Your guests are going to love it, so you should too.

 

Contributing Writer

Liz Biscevic is a full-time consultant and freelance writer, editor and photograher currently living in Santa Monica, California. Biscevic has been writing professionally since 2011 and loves food, travel and yoga.

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