Whether you’ve invited a tight group of friends or a mixed
bag of colleagues, the key to any successful dinner party
is making people feel comfortable.
First Course: Play to all the five senses
Soft lighting, a simply set table and colorful food
presented to please the eye.
Stay away from scented candles or heavily
scented flowers as they can detract from the
delicious smells coming from your kitchen.
Choose a palette of complementary flavors
spicy, savory, sweet and tart are just a few of the
combinations you may consider. Having an
ethnic theme or a gourmet twist on a favorite
comfort food can provide an anchor for other decisions such as drinks and dessert.
At a recent gathering I attended, all of the guests were asked to bring a wine from
Oregon as the hostess alma mater was playing in the big game that night. Who
knew Oregon produced such a wide range of delicious wines!
Second Course: Select a signature drink
Arrange your appetizers around wellpairedwines. Spicy thai with a dry Reisling or a Vinho Verde with seared scallops in citrus butter.
If you do decide to gather everyone around a traditional table for the main dish, be sure toprepare an entree that will be easily served so that you arent running in and out of the
kitchen and missing all the fun. Think roasts, baked pasta or dinner salads and lots of
Third Course: Make one course a SHOWSTOPPER.
One of the easiest courses to really impress people with is dessert. If you’re not a pastry chef by trade, consider taking a bakery staple to new heights by adding freshly whipped cream ordrizzling sambuco on the really good ice cream and serving it in fancy chocolate shells and biscotti.
If all else fails, serve champagne. The best you can afford in tall, sparkly flutes.