ENTERTAINING, EVERYDAY entertaining | January 30, 2008

How to Host a Stress Free Gourmet Dinner?

gourmet meal december 2007Unless you hire a chef at home, hosting a gourmet dinner involves a lot of work. Every year before Christmas, we gather one group of friends for a gourmet meal.

The formula

On last Christmas, we tried something new. Seven couples were participating to the event.

Each couple was responsible for cooking, plating, serving and cleaning up a full course. This includes selecting and buying the accompanying alcohol drink. A random draw determines which course was assigned to us.

The menu started with a welcome cocktail and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a cold first course, a warm first course, the entrée, the “trou normand” (granite with a dash of alcohol) before the cheese platter and concluded with the dessert. As you can see, the plates were well-presented. Everything tasted delicious.

No one knew in advance the menu except that it should feel like Christmas. We informed the host of our planned menu who was in charge of coordinating the event program.

My opinion

This formula works pretty well. The hosts gave us clear instructions in advance. The hosts planned for a 15-minute delay between each service. Searching my memory, I estimate the waiting time between services to be closer to 30 minutes on average. But giving us a shorter delay assured that the amount of cooking left was minimal. So it was a good move by the hosts.

This dinner was a team effort. Both men and women worked on this. For my part, my husband and I selected our recipes together. He cooked with me. For a stylish casual gathering, I encourage you to try out this formula. Everyone had the time to enjoy the evening, including the hosts.

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