How to Throw a Great Dinner Party
If you’re lucky enough to be a foodie with like-minded foodie friends, the thought of throwing a dinner party has probably crossed your mind. You’re relatively confident in your culinary skills and you’re quite the conversationalist, but the pressure of putting together a lovely evening can be daunting. Here are some top tips on how to plan a dinner party to be remembered.
- Choose a theme.
While you might have certain dishes that you’re dying to share with friends, they might not necessarily go together. Try to avoid the temptation to cross-cuisine your friends. They probably won’t enjoy a Thai prawn skewer followed by fish and chips followed by forest fruit pavlova. The theme will help you structure the evening, too. Say, you decide to set up an Italian theme, you could put together a platter real italiano antipasto (or from elsewhere) and stick to the cuisine; likewise, if you decide to go with Chinese, you could arrange some spring rolls, dumplings, baby corn fritters, and more. The idea behind presenting appetizers or starters for your guests to nibble on is to stop the tummy from rumbling, especially if things get a little haywire in the kitchen. You can also try a variety of pork dishes as well, if that’s your taste, like a pork loin roast (get the recipe here). However, do try sticking to your theme.
- Plan your cooking times out efficiently.
Obviously you’ll have to remember which dishes need to be slow cooked for eight hours and which elements of your dessert will need freezing overnight, but try to remember what hob and oven space you’ll require while the guests are there. You don’t want to find yourself with a full oven and no room for the main element of a dish. Nobody wants to end up with a plate full of side dishes, do they? Try to keep in mind how quickly things will cool when you’re taking things off the heat. Catering for a group is different to cooking for yourself. More food means more time plating up. Take things that will cool quickly out last. Top tip: heat the plates in the oven to slow cooling down.
- Impress guests with presentation.
Even though your dishes are delicious, consider presentation. You want your friends to be taking pictures and showing off your lovely evening; finishing touches can add a lot to your guests’ perception of what to expect from a dish. To do that, you could use the special cutlery and utensils that you might have, and spruce up the dining area with flowers, disposable brown napkins, mats, and coasters that match the kind of party you’re throwing. Considering that you will be whipping up a few delicious dishes, you should tidy up and decorate the area to do the food justice. It’ll make a world of difference.
- Think about the atmosphere.
Believe it or not, it’s not all about the food! People enjoy the atmosphere at a restaurant because it’s very carefully planned out. Restaurants spend a lot of time considering the lighting, music and temperature of the venue. Take a leaf from their book and decide whether you’d like some background music. Perhaps think about whether you’d like a candlelit dinner or try out the look of fairy lights. You might want to test which lighting allows you to see your food. Maybe a few fresh flower bouquets from an Attwood Flowers Delivery shop (or one closer to you) could help set the mood; you could place them as decor pieces. They can also make the room feel fresher and vibrant. Figure out what temperature is appropriate for the dress code you’ve set. Cold guests can’t enjoy their food properly!
Most importantly, try to enjoy yourself. Guests don’t like to see a stressed host, it makes them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Plus, what’s the point throwing it in the first place if you’re not going to enjoy it? Other than, you know, being a show-off.