Tips for Hosting like a Pro
It’s never too early to start planning for the holiday season, and if you’re like me, organization is your best friend. Sometimes, it feels like the second I’m done hosting for one occasion, I’m on to planning the next. I have a few tips and tricks that I have acquired over the years from hosting my family for the holidays. Entertaining for a large group can be hard, but with careful planning, it can be a breeze. Keep reading to find out what I do to make hosting enjoyable for all.
The key to success is planning and preparing in advance! Anyone who knows me knows that I love lists: shopping, chopping and prepping lists! It can be hard to know which foods can be chopped and cooked early, and which ones have to be made just before serving. There are tons of tricks to help you make most of your food before the guests arrive.
Will my chopped vegetables wilt? Most veggies can be pre-chopped and turn out well. If the veggies are being served raw, such as in a salad or on a veggie tray, they will retain their crispiness if stored in water in the fridge. Delicate leafy greens should not be washed and chopped in advance or you will end up with a wilted salad!
Will my sauce reheat well? If you plan on reheating a dish that you cooked the day before, consider moisture. You need to compensate for water evaporating since you will be heating the dish twice, so start off with more liquid than you need so everything can stay moist. Letting your sauce sit in the refrigerator overnight is a great idea because it can help mend all the delicious ingredients together.
Preparing meats beforehand is also a must for me because it can really amp up the flavour of my dishes. For example, I marinate my meats the day before because it makes all my meats extra juicy and tender. It makes a huge difference for tougher meats and for meats that tend to be dry.
Food is not the only thing you have to prepare – you have to set up your venue as well! Often the little things take longer than you think. Be sure to count out cutlery, napkins and plates for all of your guests before they arrive.
I always find it helpful to imagine coming to my party as a guest; am I picturing it as more of a cocktail party or a formal sit-down dinner? Depending on how you envision your party, you will have to set up your venue accordingly. However, regardless of the type of party I am hosting, I almost never use plastic utensils. Not only is it bad for the environment, but it makes it feel less personal.
Be sure you have enough platters and the proper serving utensils set out. You can even label serving platters with what they will be holding to ease your mind.
Lastly, a good rule of thumb for hosting is to never make any new recipes for guests. It would be unwise to assume that if you follow the recipe to a tee the recipe will work out perfectly. Try making a new dish a few times for your family before making it for the big day, and remember, recipes can turn out differently in large batches than when you make them for fewer people. When choosing a recipe, think about how many things you can prep the day before and how many things you will need to do a few minutes before it is served!
Try some of these easy tips to better enjoy your next hosting experience! Hosting guests may seem stressful but if you take the time to organize and follow some of these tips, it will be a walk in the park.
What are some of your hosting hacks to make everything go as smoothly as possible? Let us know in the comments below!
From our kitchen to yours,
Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador