5 Easy Ways to Host a Michelin Star-Worthy Dinner Party
Chef Patrick Kriss knows what it takes to throw an unforgettable meal. Here are his top five hosting tips to make your guests’ experience special.
How to host a dinner party like Chef Patrick Kriss
As the chef and owner of Alo in Toronto, considered by many to be the best restaurant in Canada, Chef Patrick Kriss certainly knows how to make guests happy. Kriss, who's partnered with Stella Artois and Chefs Plate to create a limited-edition meal kit with step-by-step recipe instructions and a shopping list of farm fresh ingredients, understands that throwing a dinner party should not only be fun for the guests, but for the host too. “The more interaction with your friends, food and the space, the better your night will be," Kriss says. Here are his five best tips on how to take the stress out of hosting and create an unforgettable summer dinner party.
1. Head to the market
Once you've decided on the group of people you're going to invite to your dinner party and inquired about any potential food allergies, it's time to create the menu. While flipping through cookbooks is a great jumping off point, Kriss also recommends browsing your local farmers' market. "The easiest way to find inspiration is to go to the market, talk to the vendors and check out what ingredients look good that day," he says. There will be plenty of deals to be found on fresh, local produce and artisanal fare you likely won't see on grocery store shelves.
2. Stick with what you know
According to Kriss, a dinner party isn't the best time to experiment. "Don't try anything new," he says. "If you want to try out a new dish, try it when you're own your own." Selecting dishes that you've prepared before and are confident in making will guarantee tasty results, and give you the freedom to get creative with how you present them to your guests. Extending this approach into the kitchen will also help, he says. "Don't waste your money on any new kitchen gadgets—a cutting board, a good knife and a peeler are all you need."
3. Get difficult tasks out of the way first
The best way to host a stress-free dinner party is to plan your meal carefully. This means getting as many difficult tasks out of the way as early as possible and avoiding dishes that require last-minute prep. "Finish the intimidating things first so you have time to have a drink with your friends and enjoy each other's company," says Kriss. "That way, you'll sill have time to go back into the kitchen and work on those finishing touches." A dinner party should be a casual affair, not an episode of Iron Chef.
4. Family-style is best
Downton Abbey may have convinced you that entertaining at home is all about fine china and expensive table settings, but don't be fooled: an informal, family-style dinner party is a charming way to give your friends an evening to remember. "Have all the cutlery, plates and napkins in the middle of the table, and you can let everyone help themselves," says Kriss. "It doesn't always have to be prim and proper." If you do decide to go fussy, keep it simple. Don't go overboard with polished silverware and flower arrangements.
5. Remember to have fun
As a host, your job is to make the occasion truly memorable and comfortable for everyone, says Kriss."The main key to dining with friends is there should be no stress," he says. From the moment your guests walk through the door to the moment they leave, maintain an easygoing atmosphere. And because your hardworking guests deserve to unwind a little, keep the conversations light and dress code relaxed. And remember: a happy host equals happy guests.