The five golden rules for a successful dinner party
Dinner parties are always a great way of getting all of your close friends together to eat good food (fingers crossed) and drink nice wine. However, organising and executing the perfect dinner party can be extremely stressful and hosts often feel under pressure to impress.
George Rouse, owner of George’s Kitchen, has been catering dinner parties for many of London’s elite for the past 12 years. He has perfected the dinner party recipe and knows exactly what it takes to throw the most enjoyable evening for everyone to enjoy, including the host!
Here are his five golden rules he suggests you follow in order to pull off a successful dinner party, fit for the finest of guests.
One of the main ways your dinner party can stand out from the rest is with a delicious menu full of creative dishes that show off your culinary skills. However, it’s also equally important to find the right balance between being creative without being too ambitious. Trying to cook complicated and time-consuming dishes could back fire and add to both your stress levels and time pressures.
When creating your bespoke menus, George suggests you try to keep it to a simple 3-4 items on the plate so as not to over complicate. Focusing on nailing 3 amazing items will enhance your upscale home cooked feel to the meal. Additionally, to help choose your dishes you may want to consider a running theme throughout the menu. For example, George’s Kitchen always finds seasonal ingredients are a great place to start with a themed menu, to build your winter or autumnal feast.
Ask about allergies
The amount of people with food allergies and intolerances is constantly rising and reactions can be life threatening in some cases. The likelihood is a number of your guests will have dietary requirements that you should know about. When you send the invites out, make sure you ask your guests if they have any special requirements, even if they’re a close friend and you think you are aware of their allergy, it’s always best to double check.
As caterers George’s Kitchen take allergies extremely seriously and have controls in place to ensure that no reactions occur. One of the best ways you can do the same is to make sure you know the source of all of your foods. Be sure you check all packaging before putting the ingredients into your dishes.
Once you have created your perfect menu, you can think about how you can start preparing it. Firstly, consider what equipment you will need to get to ensure you execute the dish as well as possible. This could be a blender to make silky smooth purées, a Japanese Mandolin for those wafer-thin slices or a digital temperature probe to make sure you achieve the best medium rare meat.
You can also be prepared in advance with the food. Try and get as much done as possible the day before. Whether it is a dauphinoise potato gratin that needs to be set and pressed to achieve neat perfect squares or even par boiling and fluffing your potatoes for a crisp roast potato.
Create the right atmosphere
The best way to ease stress for both you and your guests is to create a relaxed environment for everyone to enjoy the event. Firstly, you need to make sure you appear relaxed, even if you don’t feel it, leave the stress in the kitchen. Your guests will pick up on your behaviours and respond. For example, if you’re running around trying to organise things your guests may feel uncomfortable but if you’re relaxed and having a good time, they will too.
Another way to create a good atmosphere is through music. Find a music playlist of songs that set the right tone you’re trying to achieve. This can play as background noise throughout the evening to keep everyone upbeat and to cover any gaps in the conversation that may fall into awkward silences.
One of the most effective ways to eliminate stress is to reduce your workload. You could consider co-hosting with a partner who could chip in with the cooking whilst you prepare the table or delegate other tasks you don’t have time to complete. Equally, when invited to dinner parties, guests often offer to bring the wine or maybe a delicious desert. This small help could save you one extra thing that frees ups some precious time.
However, if you would rather not rely on guests, you could hire a caterer. This is the best way to enjoy your event, ensuring it all runs smoothly but you still have time to relax and enjoy the company of your friends and family. George’s Kitchen offer a private dining experience in the comfort of your own home, so you can ensure it’s as authentic as possible.