How do you host the perfect holiday party? 6 tips from chefs

How do you host the perfect holiday party?  6 tips from chefs

Around the holidays, it’s hard to wade through the many articles and guides to hosting the perfect soiree, mastering your Christmas registry like a pro, and how to set the perfect table for Christmas dinner. And year after year, the same advice is recycled.

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that change is inevitable, and that it’s not a bad thing if you embrace it. In that spirit, we’ve rounded up some unconventional and unexpected holiday cooking tips and opinions on hosting from some chefs, bakers, and other people in the food world who know their way around a cookie table.

How do you host the perfect holiday party?

1. Don’t be afraid to simplify and outsource pre-made or provided items

When you’re playing host—whether at a simple holiday party with a grazing table or a Christmas dinner with the whole family—it’s easy to get caught up in crafting the perfect menu and preparing each recipe from scratch.

However, this is a recipe for burnout and burnout, and you don’t need to take it all on yourself. Bronwyn White, the New Orleans-based baker behind the hugely popular cakes and newsletter Bayou Saint Cake, revealed that instead of spending their vacation gnawing and working on a plucked bird, she and his wife prefer to outsource their Thanksgiving turkeys To a local resident. A fried chicken restaurant offering five flavors of whole fried turkey.

“When you’re not roasting your own turkey, you can devote your time and oven space to the sides, which, ultimately, are the best part,” White wrote in her newsletter. “When we’re done cooking the stuffing, casseroles, and vegetables, I’ll turn the oven on to 400 degrees and fire up the turkey.” Fried turkey to re-flake the skin and warm the meat.By the same token – high-quality store-bought stock is good too!

The same idea applies to other winter holidays. Whatever time-consuming mainstay you’ve envisioned for your party or dinner, it’s really not that hard to pay a local professional to handle it for you so you can focus on the preparations — and dressing charmingly.

2. If you are invited to someone else’s celebration, do not come empty-handed

“Rent and food costs are too (expletive) to show up empty-handed,” chef and cookbook author Angela Davis wrote on Instagram. It’s not exactly unorthodox advice for many people who grew up with parental expectations drilled into their brains that you should always bring something as a gift for the host.

However, we think it’s worth mentioning. Even if your friend says that dreaded phrase: “You don’t have to bring anything, just yourself,” you should still find something thoughtful to bring that doesn’t overwhelm the meal or celebration they have in mind, take up space in the fridge, or create extra work. For the host. Something like a nice bottle of wine, or specialty ingredients like fine salt, spices, oil, vinegar, or candy from a local bakery would be a safe bet.

3. Don’t worry about whether your guests will like your cooking

Easier said than done, but home cooking and recipe blogger Jessie F. She says it’s helpful to reframe your mindset before inviting guests into your home. On TikTok, she said she thinks the thing that scares a lot of people when it comes to hosting is the fear that people won’t like their food.

“Terrible idea, isn’t it?” Says. “I cook for a living and I still suffer from this kind of imposter syndrome.” But she urges people to reframe negative thoughts, accept them, and move on, because “what if your family and friends… love Your food? They want you to succeed.”

4. If you’re tight on space, turn your bathtub or sink into a beverage cooler

Chef and cookbook author Allison Roman is the queen of cutting out the unnecessary steps and fufarao of hosting and cooking for a crowd. When it’s time to party, she said in a New York Times story, she either stores cold drinks in the fire escape, or fills a bathtub or spare tub half-full with ice and keeps bottles and cans there.

She realizes it’s not a technique that works for everyone, but added, “You have to admit, it’s very resourceful.”

5. Save space in your refrigerator by temporarily storing unnecessary ingredients elsewhere

When the author of Dining In and Nothing Fancy was living in an apartment in New York City, she had a smaller-than-average refrigerator, so another trick she swears by is removing everything that won’t be used for the party or meal she’s hosting.

“Instead of throwing everything away, I’m packing the cooler with ice and using it to store all the weird mustards and assorted condiments I refuse to give up,” she wrote in the New York Times. “I’m also adjusting the refrigerator shelves to make room for the turkey and 29 sticks of butter I’m going to buy.”

6. Think about ways your guests can “help” in advance

It takes a little more planning and thinking ahead, but if you’re the type of person who struggles to multitask and gets a brain freeze when guests arrive while you’re still in chaos mode in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to anticipate the inevitable: “What can I do to help?” a question.

Tessa Velasquez, the Washington, D.C., restaurateur behind A Baked Joint, la Betty, and YESBABE, said in a blog interview that she circumvents this situation by “simply setting up different food and drink stations around my house that require a *small amount* of DIY.

“For example, a drinks station that has a pre-made martini, but has cocktail shakers and garnishes to finish,” she says. “Or a grazing table with all the snacks, cheeses and spreads to assemble into the perfect bite. It forces people to move around the space and set Connections organically.”

Giving people a small, interactive task creates “an easy conversation entry point for communicating your love of canned fish or offering to make someone a martini,” she says. “From here, I see my guests delving into deeper conversations and letting them flow.” Velasquez reassures readers that you don’t need a large living space to accomplish something like this, either. She says she’s done this with parties of more than 20 people in her 400-square-foot living room.

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