With restaurants in Australia, Japan and Singapore and fresh from a $1.5 million renovation of his restaurant the Glass Brasserie in the Hilton in Sydney, Luke Mangan knows the key to a good dining experience. However if unlike the chef and restaurateur you don’t have a team of chefs helping you cook up a storm at home, never fear because Luke has shared his top 10 tips for a successful dinner party. After all if anyone would know how to feed a room full of people with ease it’s a man who is at the helm of restaurants that serve hundreds of diners in a single evening! The next time you’re having people at yours, be sure to keep these tips top of mind for a memorable, stress-free and best of all, enjoyable event.
1. Keep it seasonal
Always plan your menu and try to make it seasonal. There is nothing better than cooking with fresh seasonal produce – it’s also much more cost effective.
2. Simplicity is key
Try not to be too tricky with your menu, cook dishes you know and are comfortable with so you can spend as much time with your guests rather than being stuck in the kitchen, while everyone else is enjoying themselves.
3. Don’t be afraid to delegate
One tip to avoid last minute stress is to delegate. Don’t feel like you have to do everything just because you are hosting. Your friends won’t like to arrive empty handed anyway, so let them be part of the preparation. And don’t be afraid to assign people certain things, that way you wont end up with five plates of the same salad.
4. Create a welcoming vibe
Creating the right ambience is the easiest way to relax people. Candles are a must and soft lighting creates a warm and cosy environment, especially when entertaining in winter. Always have music playing but not too loud; it creates a lovely ambience in house.
5. Check guests’ food requirements
To save yourself the embarrassment, check any dietaries or dislikes ahead of time. Nothing worse than having guests not being able to eat your food – that’s what they’re there for right?
6. Intimate is best
Don’t feel like you need to invite everyone! Keep numbers intimate and minimal – nothing worse than signing yourself up for cooking for a group of 30 guests!
7. Make dessert ahead of time
Choose a dessert you can make ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer. By the time you get to dessert the last thing you feel like doing is getting back in the kitchen to finish off the last course!
8. Serve communal meals
I love to serve my dishes “family style”. By placing everything in the middle of the table your guests can help themselves to as little or as much as they like; it is a nice interaction at the table and creates conversation.
9. Keep it relaxed
Most importantly, keep it relaxed and fun; if you’re relaxed then your guests will be relaxed too.
10. Don’t forget the drinks!
And if all else fails, there’s always wine!