It’s party time on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, and for a very good reason: Marcela Valladolid is getting ready to welcome her second son, and the cast celebrated the occasion by gifting her with treats, presents and plenty of well wishes at a baby shower. Before they surprised Marcela, the group dished on the most-pleasing plates for a crowd, plus a few go-to party favors, like Rosemary Thyme Salt and Sunny’s Blueberry BBQ Sauce, which would surely wow your guests.
FN Dish was on the set as the cast took part in Marcela’s baby bash, and in the spirit of throwing successful parties, we asked the co-hosts to share their ultimate entertaining advice and to reveal their picks for what not to do the next time you get set to host or attend a party. Read on below to get top tips from all five chefs.
“Don’t experiment; your guests are not guinea pigs. You want to experiment? Experiment on your kids or your family until you get it really right, but [for the party] do stuff that you’re absolutely certain you can do very well, because everybody that’s invited is going to look for you to just make something correct. They don’t care what the degree of difficulty is.”
“If you see everybody else with their shoes off, take your shoes off — don’t fight it. Also, bring something. You have to bring something, even if it’s a small thing. Don’t come empty-handed.”
“You shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew, so to speak. Plan ahead, pick a menu that’s simple, don’t pick something that’s overly ambitious and don’t stress thinking you need to make a fancy dinner menu. If you make something really easy, like meatloaf, serve it in an elegant way. If you’re going for a high-end dinner party, put your meatloaf on your best china and suddenly you have an elegant dinner party.”
“Really know the recipes if you’re going to be entertaining, because you don’t want any surprises. You don’t want to be making a really intricate sauce for the first time: What if it breaks and you don’t know how to put it back together? … It just has to be stuff that you master so that you’re not that concerned and so that you actually have time to spend with your family and enjoy the party and you’re not worried about that recipe you never made before and you really have no idea what it’s supposed to look like in real life, not what it looks like in the photo in the book.”
“Doing anything new, anything that you’ve never made before — don’t do it for a party. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. … I think that’s the biggest mistake: People oversell and try to overpromise what the menu’s going to be, and I just think, keep it simple. … Sometimes you go to people’s houses and it’s like the smorgasbord buffet, [but it] doesn’t have to be that much. Do something really simple and people will be OK with it.”
Tune in to The Kitchen every Saturday at 11a|10c.