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How to Host a Dinner Party Your Guests Won’t Stop Talking About 

If you’re anything like us, you love hosting dinner parties. Having friends or family gather around your table, sharing good food, and great conversation is peak entertainment. But, sometimes, having to host can be stressful — especially if your meal goes awry. We’ve put together this guide to help make your dinner party planning easy and stress-free. So, read on for everything you need to know about how to host a dinner party your guests won’t stop talking about!

What to serve at a dinner party?

Your first step is to decide on a menu. Do you want to serve your guests Aegean cuisine “shaped by the sun, the sea and the soil”? Then, Mamakas Taverna’s elevated Greek cuisine will delight your guests with Mediterranean flavours. 

Or, maybe your guests would prefer a classic British Short Rib & Bone Marrow Pie? This kit is especially easy to serve as it requires virtually no prep! If your guests are in the mood for something a bit more casual, try Colibri’s famous Nachos paired with their Pork Carnitas Tacos. These two dishes are perfect for family-style dining. 

The easiest way to decide ‘what to serve at a dinner party?’ is to browse through our selection of meal kits designed to be “Good for Groups.” A meal kit takes the guesswork — and stress — out of cooking by arriving with all the ingredients you need and easy-to-follow instructions. You’ll be serving restaurant-quality meals prepared in the comfort of your own kitchen. Simply assemble, serve, and enjoy.

What is mise en place?

What, exactly, is mise en place? Mise en place is a practice that will take your cooking from stressful to enjoyable. Besides using a meal kit, it’s the number one thing we recommend to people who host who want to enjoy their night, too. 

A French culinary term, ‘mise en place,’ means ‘putting in place.’ It refers to having your kitchen set up for success before you start cooking. Applying the practice of mise en place is, essentially, organizing your kitchen so your meal goes as smoothly as possible. You’ll find mise en place applied in every professional kitchen and practiced by all of the world’s best hosts. 

To put mise en place into practice, you should: 

1. Have your recipe at hand and have read it over at least once. 

2. Have all of your ingredients and utensils needed at hand.

3. Wash, cut, or measure all of your ingredients out before you start to assemble them. 

4. Place everything into appropriate containers so you can easily access them. 

5. Arrange your cooking station as it makes sense for your dish (this could mean you place the cooked-first ingredients closest to your oven).

Mise en place can save you time, giving you more of your night to relax with your guests. Alongside time saved, it has the dual function of keeping you organized — with mise en place, you won’t have any forgotten ingredients to worry about. 

How to plate food like a chef?

Food plating and presentation might be the last thing on your mind when hosting a dinner party. But, it’s nearly as important as everything else in your night. This is because your guests eat with all of their senses, including what they see, smell, and feel. Show them something delicious first; as every master chef knows, proper presentation adds value to your dish. 

Here are a few general tips on how to plate food like a chef:

1. Create height on your plate. You don’t need to separate your ingredients but rather build from the bottom up.

2. Make horizontal cuts in your meat against the grain. Then, you can fan it out to show off the quality and colours. 

3. Place contrasting colours next to each other. Bold, contrasting colours give your guests’ eye somewhere to focus. 

4. Smaller portion sizes. Smaller portion sizes are often easier to style and make your plate look less crowded. Your guests can always come back for seconds! 

5. Keep it simple. You don’t need to hide behind garnishes or decorations. Remember to keep your garnishes to a minimum, and make sure they’re edible! 

6. Balance your dish. Like points 3, 4, and 5 hint at, you don’t want to overcrowd or complicate your dish. Part of this is to give it balance — keep everything weighted in a way that draws the eye where you want.

How to set a table for the dinner party?

First off, what kind of dinner party are you hosting? Is it casual or formal? You’ll want to decide on a vibe that matches the dish you’re serving. If you’ve gone with family-style casual dining, like tacos, you’ll want to set your table up to accommodate elbows and arms reaching for dishes, so a large centrepiece may get in the way. 

If you’re hosting a more formal dining experience, you’ll want to remember the basics: 

1. Symmetry and balance. Set your table so there is an even weighting to it. That means centrepieces in the centre, a table runner going down the middle of the table, and everyone’s plates and utensils appropriately placed. 

2. Put your forks on the left, knives on the right, soup spoons on the furthest right, and napkins on the centre of the plate. The idea with setting your utensils is that folks will select a utensil from the outside first, so if you’re serving a starter salad, place your salad fork to the furthest left. 

3. Stemware is at the top right of your plate.

Likely, you’ll want to choose a casual dining setting for your guests. To do this, follow the same ‘formal rules’ for utensils — forks on the left, knives on the right — and napkins on the centre of the plate. Then, decorate the rest of your table as you see fit. Right now, we’re loving simple candles and a dried floral arrangement.

Choose a meal kit and send out your invites

Now that you’ve got the skills to host your dinner party, all that’s left is inviting your guests and ordering your food. Try one of Chefdrop’s meal kits for an easy-to-prep restaurant-worthy spread. Whether or not you tell your guests where you got your menu from is up to you. Enjoy!

Great for Groups

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Chefdrop is on a mission to connect people and food. Not just for those with means but also for those experiencing food insecurity. That’s why, at Chefdrop, for every meal kit you purchase, we commit to donating a meal to someone in need.

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GET THE DROP!

Sign up for Chefdrop emails today to get 25% off your first order, 5,000 bonus Chefdrop Rewards points, exclusive offers, new restaurant announcements, first access to new drops, and more special surprises!

Follow us on social

Need some help?

What's a Platform Fee?

This fee is in place to enable Chefdrop to provide you and our vendors with the consolidation and fulfilment services that allow you to experience exceptional food from across the province. It is equal to 10% of the subtotal – to a maximum of $20.