Chef Lynn Crawford’s Top 5 Hosting Tips
Chef Lynn Crawford knows what it takes to extend the welcome mat. Here are her top five hosting tips to make your guests’ experience phenomenal.
How to Host like Chef Lynn Crawford
Chef Lynn Crawford certainly knows how to make guests feel welcome. Not only is she a world-renowned restaurateur, she's also one of the 7,500 Torontonians who host guests through the vacation home rental service, Airbnb.
"I think during the summer travel season, it's really important that we embrace our guests and show that Canadians have a love for hospitality," Crawford says.
Not surprisingly, at Crawford's Airbnb, that love for hospitality shines through most spectacularly in the kitchen. Here are five of her best kitchen tips for taking the sweat and tears out of summer hosting-whether your guests are paying, or staying on the house.
1. Make sure you have the right kitchen tools
Having the right kitchen tools can help make your foodie guests feel right at home. "Whether your kitchen is big or small, it's all about how well you utilize that space, and having everything readily available," says Crawford. "My experience with Airbnb is that your guests want to be able to cook for themselves." A guest-friendly kitchen needs a proper cutting board, sharp knives, a cast-iron skillet, wooden spoons, can openers and serving platters. Oh, and a wine opener always comes in handy too.
2. Have a well-stocked refrigerator
Good hosts want their guests to eat, drink and be merry-and well-stocked refrigerator and pantry can help tick all three of those boxes. Just make sure not to overdo it, says Crawford. "Some people go to the big grocery stores and buy too much food, and [guests] end up not using all of it." Instead, go to your local market or butcher and shop for a few days at a time, especially if you have a small kitchen.
3. Stick to simple recipes
When hosting overnight guests, one thing to keep in mind is breakfast-it is, after all, the most important meal of the day. Crawford says you can't go wrong serving seasonal fruits like raspberries and cherries. For other meals, stick to simple recipes that use locally-sourced ingredients. A kale salad or steak with red wine sauce and Portobello mushrooms may not be complicated, but they're delicious, readily sourced in summer, and extremely easy-to-make.
4. Whip up a DIY spice rub
Even if you're not terribly confident in the kitchen, there are a few foolproof ways to give your meals a one-of-a-kind flavour. "If you're cooking at home, spice rubs are a must," says Crawford. Impress your guests with a seafood meal using a lemon and herb spice rub, or a BBQ rub spiced with paprika. Made from scratch, they're versatile flavour enhancers with a long shelf life-and often much healthier than the store-bought version.
Check out Chef Lynn's all-purpose spice mix recipe!
5. Greet guests with a welcome basket
A fruit basket is always a great gift, and a nice gesture from Airbnb hosts welcoming guests to their home. "There are many iconic Canadian foods-chutney, jam, maple syrup, butter tarts or anything from your local farmer's market-that work well in a welcome basket too," says Crawford. Hosts can even include a map featuring the must-visit local restaurants, coffee shops and hidden gems.
Check out Chef Lynn's homemade granola recipe!