Sunday, January 21

How To… Become a Perfect Host!

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With the holidays all over the place, you are either invited to a party or hosting one! Every one of us is facing the matter of the etiquette issues! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the help of internationally-trained, Lindsay Trivers, and her 15 years of experience in the hospitality and beverage sectors.

What makes the perfect party ‘welcome drink’?

Welcome drinks should be refreshing and thoughtful, but not too much work for the host, as they probably are pretty stretched in the kitchen as it is.

What’s an easy canapé to serve before dinner?

When I’m serving a snack before dinner, I break the rules and serve the cheese platter as  a starter. I include some dips, charcuterie and a crudités. It’s easy to pull together and visually appealing.

Is a gift for the dinner party host expected?

I think it’s always nice to rock up with a gift for the host, but not expected. Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers, a nice cigar or some chocolates – it’s nice to show a little appreciation.

You’ve hosted hundreds of dinner parties. What are your top tips for a flawless evening?

  • 1)  Try to prep as much of the food in advance as possible, right down to pre-chopping herbs for a garnish or salad. Pre-measure ingredients that you’ll need to cook together right before service, and pre-cook items like potatoes that can just be finished in the oven right before you eat. 
  • 2)  If people see that you’ve put some thought into the drinks, they will slow down and enjoy both the food and the drinks on the night. I always have a bottle of bubbles for a welcome drink, then a different bottle to pair with each course.
  • 3)  Ambience and table settings go a long way to make a night special. I’m addicted to buying placemats, cloth napkins, napkin rings, snazzy cutlery and pretty plates to create beautiful table settings.

What are your top tips on things to avoid for a flawless evening?

  • 1)  Try not to spend too much time on preparation on event day, or you might end up pretty tired when it’s time to enjoy your guests’ company.
  • 2)  Don’t overdo it on three complicated courses you’ve never made before. Stick to one show-stopper of a dish if you want to try out a new recipe, then keep dessert or starters simple with a cheese board or some nice chocolates, for example.
  • 3)  Having your drinks at the right service temperature is easy to overlook. Stock your fridge with your beverages and ice well in advance to avoid serving warm drinks.

Now you’ve got a party to plan…

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