The right blend of guests, tasty drink and edible treats, fresh flowers and glittering candles are essential for a memorable dinner party. Despite a busy schedule you can, without going to great lengths, create a memorable evening of fun and conversation. Invite a few close and new friends over and follow our checklist to hosting an ultra sophisticated dinner (sans slaving over a hot oven).
▫ Design your menu – Rely on amazing catering from MorSul (Matt Moran & Peter Sullivan). Describe your type of event you’re having and let them weave their culinary magic. If you insist on cooking Kate Spade suggests for her ‘Busy-In-The-City Dinner Party’ menu – Slabs of Parmesan Cheese, Enormous Tossed Salad, Fresh Pasta with Three Kinds of Mushrooms, Compote of Sliced Nectarines and Blueberries, topped with roasted Almonds. For brushing up on skills, sign up for a Biota Dining or Talk Eat Drink at Simon Johnson cooking classes.
▫ Decorate – Pick a theme, something like ‘Cuckoo for Chocolate’ – featuring rich browns, reds and of course real chocolate, ‘Some like it Hot’ – think beige napkins tied with real chilli, or ‘Like Lemons’ and weave decorations and colour palette through your table setting, drinks and food menu. Keep your tablecloth white (overhanging eight to twelve inches).
▫ Create a music list – a well thought compilation is a must to keep the momentum of your evening flowing. Suggested music for Best Friends Soiree Mix – Bryan Ferry, The Cult, Iggy Pop, Lana Del Rey, Mazzy Star, Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac, Annie Lennox, Anna Calvi, Florence & The Machine
▫ Set the table – Select Glassware, dishes, flatware
▫ Seating Plan –Your mix of guests should not be too predictable, separate couples but place them opposite each other, as host you sit at the top of the table so you can keep an eye on everyone mixing well, or if someone needs another cocktail or glass of wine.
▫ Flowers and Lighting – Place in a clear vase a mix of flowers (for ease and simplicity stick with one bloom – peonies or David Austin Roses are always a favourite, and consider ranunculus, lily of the valley or tulips, Surround with votive candles – the more the merrier. If you need some flower styling inspiration consult florist Saskia Haveke’s new book Grandiflora Celebrations or flower girl Amy Wright or Wunderplant.
Don’t forget to place a posy in the bathroom and light a Ciretrudon or Dipytique candle for a nice touch.
▫ Set up the Bar – As guests arrive, serve a Cham Cham Cocktail – Add 10ml Chambord to champagne flute and top with champagne. So you can spend more time conversing with your guests, hire a bar man via Airtasker (ask him to come appropriately dressed in white shirt, black tie, black suit pants).
▫ Turn on the music (and get yourself a drink – see previous item)
▫ Be ready at least 30 minutes before your guests arrive so you’re relaxed
▫ Serve entrees a little later than expected – not so that they’re starving but feeling hungry!
▫ Serve dinner
▫ Serve dessert
▫ More drinks and coffee (Switch on the Nespresso as the evening comes to a close – guests will appreciate one for the road). Place a petit fours plate of Pashmak (Persian fairy floss), fresh fig wedges, turkish delight and dark chocolate out just before everyone leaves so they depart on a sweet note.
▫ Blow out the candles, take a bow and a lights out!
Presented by Chambord Australia