This week we've passed our Instagram and blog over to Alex Head, founder and head chef at Social Pantry - one of our fave cafe/supper club/catering outfits out there right now - to impart her worldly wisdom on how to throw the ultimate dinner party (she certainly knows a thing or two). Over to you, Alex!

 

TOP TIPS TO HOST THE PERFECT DINNER PARTY

By Alex Head

Follow these top tips on how to throw the perfect dinner party and relax into being a great host.

First thing's first: decide on a date. If you’re opting for a midweek dinner, it’s going to be a much shorter (and tamer) evening compared to a Friday evening, where most will be in the mood to let their hair down.

The date has been set. Now, who to invite? The guest list is a crucial element of ensuring your evening runs smoothly. Get those thinking caps on and remember to consider your seating plan too, who’s going to enjoy sitting next to whom?

Now comes the exciting part… the planning! I’m often known for getting just as excited about the organising as much as the main event. Think about how you want your guests to feel on the evening; is it a leisurely dinner that is likely to result in a few members of your party dancing on the table or are you opting for a more casual one pot style meal that’s perfect for a catch up with close friends. Whatever the occasion, planning (as always) is key.

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Setting the table is next on the list.  First impressions count and creating a beautifully styled table to remember is a must.  There are plenty tricks of the trade which are super simple and won’t break the bank:

1. Add cucumber ribbons and mint to your table water – pretty and tasty!
2. Treat your guests to gold cutlery for a sophisticated dinner table
3. Be adventurous with your flower arranging and use bold vases to add impact

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One thing that should always remain true at your dinner party is that your guests feel exceptionally relaxed and enjoy themselves. The aim of the game is to make sure your guests feel comfortable enough to have seconds.

And of course, the menu is a large part of dictating how an evening feels.

Gone are the days of the host being stuck in the kitchen and sweating over individual plates. Steering away from anything too formal will mean all guests can just tuck in and enjoy a really great plate or two of food - doing this, while the host is at the table, is key. A beautifully laid table filled with platters of delicious looking, smelling and tasting food is something that your guests will remember.

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Last but not least, add a few final touches to make sure your dinner party ends on a high.  Why not trying adding some simple petit fours to your menu – we often treat our dinner guests these gorgeous mini marbled meringues.  They’re perfect to take home and save for the following day too!

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