Thinking about hosting a dinner party for family or friends in London? Will you be pulling out all the stops for the ultimate experience in fine dining at home? Whether you’re a seasoned dinner party host or it’s you first go, there are some handy tips to keep in mind when planning your gathering.
The following post provides useful guidance on the things you need to take care of if you want to throw a memorable dinner party in London or further afield.
1. Prep, Prep & Prep Some More
If you’re the private chef for the evening, have everything ready before your guests arrive. That way, you can spend as much time as possible at the table with your guests and not be stressed in the kitchen the whole night. Good prep will also allow you to keep the kitchen neat, tidy, and organised, ensuring you have everything ready to go so when it comes to plating up.
2. Set The Table
Set your table the morning of your party (or even the night before). This gets one big task out of the way meaning there’s one less thing to stress about in the lead up to your guests’ arrival. Depending on the number of courses you plan to serve, remember to have fresh sets of cutlery for everyone — especially when switching from savoury to sweet courses.
Don’t forget about the glassware if you’re planning to have a champagne reception as part of the fine dining at home. Make sure you polish your flutes and set them up on a table next to your iced champagne bucket. Does your menu require a switch from red to white wine? Have the correct wine glasses polished and ready to go as well if so. What’s more, remember to add water glasses and a jug of iced water to make your life easier.
To ensure nothing gets overlooked, here’s a quick checklist for your table setting:
- Table mats & coasters
- Cutlery (several sets per person)
- Glassware – water glasses, wine glasses & Champagne flutes
- Centrepieces – flowers, candles etc.
- Printed menus
3. The Menu
As the personal chef for the night, it’s your responsibility to check for any special dietary requirements such as gluten free, vegan, and dairy free with your guests. This will give you plenty of time to organise a different menu and prevent any awkward moments at the dinner table.
Once you know what you’re working with in terms of dietary requirements, decide how many courses you’re going to serve. Three courses consisting of a starter, main course, and dessert is the standard choice. Generally private chefs will go with a vegetarian or fish starter followed by a meat main course, and then dessert but it should always come down to you and your guests’ preferences.
Great British Chefs is a great place to find excellent dinner party recipes if you’re not sure where to start.
4. Take Your Time, But Not Too Long
Many a dinner party guest work up an appetite throughout the day in preparation for the eagerly anticipated culinary experience. As such, it’s great to have dinner ready at a reasonable pre-agreed time. Additionally, give yourself enough time to ensure everything is right and plated with a great presentation — people really do eat with their eyes first.
Follow our ‘Prep, Prep & Prep Some More’ advice and this shouldn’t be an issue.
5. Pre-Heat & Pre-Chill
Unless you’re having hot wine in the middle of winter, nobody likes drinks anywhere near room temperature. Be sure to chill all the wine, beers & soft drinks well in advance. If you forget this step, putting your beverage in the freezer for 30 minutes is always a life saver.
When it comes to food, have the oven preheated and ready to go. Professional private chefs plan ahead to avoid putting food into a cold oven — you should too. If you have multiple ovens, you can set one that you’re not using to around 40 degrees Celsius and use it as a plate warmer for your hot dishes.
6. Tea & Coffee
Most guests will end their meal with tea and coffee. Depending on the size of your dinner party it may be worth having your tea pot and a cafetiere prepared before the meal. It’ll make it easier to serve your tea and coffee at the end as nice final touch for the fine dining experience at home. We highly recommend Balance Coffee for a special end to the evening!
Fine Dining At Home: The Wrap Up
There you have it! Some great tips for throwing the ultimate dinner party in London. If you’d prefer to leave all the hassle to professionals, private chef hire in London is an excellent choice.
Zest X LDN is here to ensure that your dinner party is one to remember. Simply choose one of our available menus or let us create a bespoke menu for you. We’ll arrive at your house or venue at least 2 hours beforehand with everything prepped and ready to go.
And there’s more! In addition to our top-tier private chefs, we’ll bring waiting staff and all the tableware including plates, glassware, and cutlery. We’ll also set the table and clean up at the end of the night to ensure you fully enjoy your evening with your guest.
Book your dinner party with Zest X LDN then sit back, relax, and enjoy fine dining at home with Michelin standard food and service.