Top 5 Tips For Entertaining At Home

top tips for dinner parties

Rachel Davies graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and after working with some of Londons most inspiring chefs set up her own cooking school. Here she shares with The Source her tips for successful entertaining at home.

 Top 5 tips for entertaining at home

One thing I’ve noticed that tends to ruffle even the calmest feathers is hosting a dinner party. Suddenly plans become even more elaborate, and ambition can triumph your better judgment. I know because I’ve been there.

So here are my top tips to be a calm host. Remind yourself of these before embarking on your dinner party, plan, breathe, and it will be fabulous!

Make ahead needs to be your mantra

Choose your menu based on what can be made in advance, the more the better, and absolutely don’t allow any last minute frying or fiddly bits. No one can stay pristine standing over a frying pan with a table full of waiting guests, and those fiddly bits can be done when you just have one person to impress. Or when you’re working in a restaurant. It’s not worth the hassle!

Do things you know work

Save the recipe testing for another time. In all honesty, I don’t follow this one, as people at my table are generally trying something I’m making for the first time, but if you don’t like surprises (and I’m thinking about Bridget Jones’ green soup here) then go for dishes that you know will work.

Guest Enjoyment

Remember that people are there to enjoy themselves, not for a gourmet experience.  Simple food done well is a joy to eat, and if that’s your goal then you won’t go wrong. In winter, a beautifully seasoned stew, in summer, grilled meat or fish, and some tasty and colourful salads – your guests will be asking for seconds.


I’m not a fan of elaborate plating up. You are not operating a high end restaurant and it’s much more fun to be with your guests than stuck in the kitchen. My favourite kind of meal is a table heaving with delicious dishes, and the ability to help myself, so lay it all out in big dishes and ask everyone to tuck in.

Never too much drink

And finally, serve enough drinks and everyone’s happy. Start with a tasty cocktail, follow with some good wine, keep it coming and remember to enjoy yourself!

To find out more about Rachel’s kitchen and to book a place on one of her varies courses, or to arrange a bespoke session for you and your friends,  click here

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