The key to success is planning and preparing in advance! Anyone who knows me knows that I love lists: shopping, chopping and prepping lists! A good rule of thumb for entertaining is never make anything for the first time for guests. Don’t assume that if you follow the recipe to a tee the recipe will work out perfectly! Try making a new dish a few times for your family before making it for a group, and remember: recipes can turn out differently in large batches than when you make them for one or two people. When choosing a recipe, remember to think about how much you can make the day before and how much will need to be done minutes before it is served!
Food is not the only thing you have to prepare – you have to set up your venue as well! Often the little things take longer than you think. Be sure to count out cutlery, napkins and plates for all of your guests before they arrive. I always find it helpful to imagine coming to my party as a guest: am I picturing it as more of a cocktail party or a formal sit-down dinner? Depending on how you envision you party, you will have to set up your venue differently! Be sure you have enough platters and the proper serving utensils set out. You can even label serving platters with what they will be holding to ease your mind.
It can be hard to know what kinds of foods can be chopped, cooked and prepared early and which ones have to be made just before serving. Will my chopped vegetables wilt? Will my sauce reheat well? There are tons of tricks to help you make most of your foods before the guests arrive. Most veggies can be pre-chopped and turn out well. If the veggies are being served raw, such as in a salad or on a veggie tray, they will retain their crispiness if stored in water in the fridge. Delicate leafy greens should not be washed and chopped in advance or you will end up with a wilted salad! If you plan on reheating a dish that you cook the day before, consider moisture. You need to compensate for lots of water evaporating since you will be heating the dish twice, so start off with more liquid so everything stays moist. Preparing foods early can really amp up the flavour of these dishes. For example, marinating meat the day before or letting sauces sit in the fridge can help the delicious ingredients mend together.
Try some of these easy tips to better enjoy your next entertaining experience! Hosting guests may seem stressful but if you take some time to organize, entertaining can be a breeze!
From our kitchen to yours…… Enjoy!
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Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador
Kids & Company