11 Tips For Hosting A Dinner by Sonia Shalom
11 Tips for Hosting a Dinner by Sonia Shalom
1. ALWAYS PREP A FEW DAYS BEFORE HAND –
Design your menu a few days in advance, even up to a week. Tailor your menu as to what dishes you think will best suit your guests and think of all dietary restrictions, if any.
After designing your menu, create your grocery list based off of each dish. This helps you save money in understanding exactly what dish requires. If I know I might need a few extra lemons, I add that to the total quantity at the end.
Order your groceries a few days in advance to ensure you can unpack all groceries and organize them in the fridge. I like to order my bulk vegetables on Fresh Direct and schedule my delivery. For my more unique ingredients and produce, I’ll make a quick stop at Whole Foods.
Take out all your serve ware to decide what you will serve each dish in.
Label each dish with a small paper which can prevent less confusion and organization the night of entertaining.
2. PREPARE ANYTHING THAT CAN BE MADE IN ADVANCE
I like to a cook a few of my dishes the night before. My hesitation at first was that the food would dry up overnight, but I learned that some of my food actually got juicier as it sat in the fridge.
The night before the dinner, I partially cooked a roasted chicken. I made sure not to cook all the way until it roasted; as I know I will need to reheat the day of.
I also make my stews and sauces, which I always find to be much better the next day. I like to marinate my meats the day before, which prevents less work the morning of and results in a more juicy and tastier piece of meat!
3. CREATE A SCHEDULE FOR Day OF
I’m the type of person who gets anxious without knowing exactly what my day consists of.
I like to create a schedule on my phone to plan out how I’ll spend my day. I leave myself time to clean the house, to cook any remaining dishes, and most definitely to take time for myself.
It is important that when you have a busy day, you take even a few minutes of your day to give yourself time to relax. I like to take an hour to go to a workout class. It helps me release anxiety and I feel much more at ease the rest of the day.
Do what works for you! If you’re feeling tired, take a hot bath, listen to some music, and just relax.
4. FILL DISHES WITH ANYTHING THAT CAN BE LEFT OUT, OUR PUT INTO REFRIGERATOR (COVER WITH PLASTIC OR PARCHMENT)
I like to get stuff out of the way as early as possible so that I can give my guests my attention. I fill my appetizer dishes with dips and cover them with plastic in the refrigerator. I also like to put my fruit for dessert into the dish I’ll be serving it in. I leave it in the refrigerator and let the natural juices make for a delicious fruit salad.
5. SET YOUR TABLE
I set my table early on, which takes one thing off your list. It also makes your apartment look more orderly and neat.
6. CLEAN AS YOU GO, YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT LATER
An important technique I learned from eating in sushi restaurants is keeping a clean kitchen while cooking. I always rinse off my cleaning equipment and the space I am working in, as I prepare each dish. It keeps a calm feeling in the kitchen, and makes you feel less overwhelmed.
7. SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR GUESTS TO CONFIRM THE TIME AND GET THEM EXCITED
I like to remind my guests what time to come with a short and sweet text. I feel it also gives your guests something to look forward to that day.
8. CREATE THE AMBIANCE – LIGHTS, MUSIC, WARMTH, COMFORT, SMELL
I learned this one from my dad. One of the most important aspects to warm a room is the ambiance. Keep your lights dimmed, play music that you can have a conversation over, keep a good temperature (remembering that the room will warm as it fills with guests and the oven heat), have enough seating, and always light your candles! My favorite scents are Dyptique Feud de Bois and I love lighting some campfire incense.
9. ALWAYS SERVE SOME SORT OF APPETIZER: NUTS, VEGETABLES, ETC.
It is important to have a few munchies for guests as they arrive. Some may be coming hungry from a long day at work. It can be as simple as nuts, crudité or even your favorite appetizers. Don’t put too much work into these, as you’ll want to focus more on the main course.
10. TRY TO ENTERTAIN AND SPEND TIME WITH YOUR GUESTS- PREPARE YOURSELF AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
I always find myself scrambling in the kitchen when my guests are over. I have learned to do as much as possible prior to their arrival, so that I can be the best host! Guests will feel more comfortable knowing you have everything under control, and that you can sit down and relax with them.
11. KEEP YOUR HUSBAND BUSY WITH A GLASS OF WINE
Being that you are busy doing the cooking and the cleaning, your husband always needs a little bit of attention. Open up a bottle of wine and pour into a carafe to allow the wine to breathe, and then pour two glasses. One for you to let a bit of steam off, one for him to keep busy while you’re doing your thing.