Hosting a dinner party, entertaining friends or family or even just a romantic night in for two; there are any number of excuses for you to bring out the best china and indulge in a little fine dining luxury at home. It needn’t break the bank, and it needn’t be stressful. Even if you are relatively inexperienced in the kitchen, there’s no reason you can’t put on a wonderful evening.
A fine dining experience requires you create a certain atmosphere, serve food that is exquisite in both taste and aesthetics and provide impeccable service to your guests. Sound daunting? It shouldn’t – by following these helpful tips you’ll be able to create a truly fine dining experience in your own home.
The first thing to decide upon, before you even think about food, is the theme of the evening. Almost all fine dining restaurants will have one, and so should your fine dining evening. The theme will dictate your recipe, so if you have your heart set on serving Thai don’t pick a Mexican theme!
Next, begin planning the recipe. If you are cooking for a long time partner or your immediate family, you might feel more adventurous, but don’t be afraid of keeping things simple. Remember, you are going to have to prepare and cook most of the food on the night and, unless you have co-hosts, you’ll be doing it on your own. Pick something that you are confident you can get right, but don’t be afraid to push yourself and try a dish for the first time.
On the same note, plan your recipe with your guests in mind. Remember, you have to entertain them as well as feed them. Make sure you are aware of any particularly dietary requirements too. If you are worried about spending too much time cooking rather than entertaining guests, consider taking minor shortcuts such as purchasing shop made puddings.
Once the recipe is chosen, plan your drinks menu to compliment it perfectly. Ensure the choice of wines, spirits and cocktails match the food on offer to really create that fine dining experience. There are a number of guides online to help you select the perfect wines for each course. Remember that wines from difference regions compliment different types of meat!
At least a week before the event, do a stock take of your tableware. Make sure there are enough plates, serving dishes and cutlery to cater for every guest over each course. The same goes for glassware. As a minimum you’ll need glasses for red and white wine, plus water tumblers. Remember, the table should be fully set before your guests arrive and so plenty of everything is necessary. If you find you are short of any tableware, search ‘catering equipment hire London’ and lease whatever is missing for the evening. Using complete sets ensures consistency and adds to the elegance and style of your night.
Now it’s time to do your shopping. Consider choosing from your supermarket’s finest range, or visit local butchers and delicatessens to really make the evening special. If you are still unsure which wines to select, many supermarkets offer ‘user-guides’ in store or you could visit a local wine merchant for expert advice. It is hard to overstate how much a good wine will compliment your food!
On the day of the big event, clean and tidy and ensure all your tableware is suitably polished. Set the table, ensuring cutlery and glassware is laid out in the traditional fashion. The cutlery for the first course should be the further away from the plates. Glassware should sit to above the knives, on the right hand side of each plate. Bread is placed on the top left.
Decorate accordingly, adding suitable lighting and table decorations where appropriate. Ensure your theme is reflected across the entire set-up. Put on a suitable sound track that is entertaining, but not overbearing and begin the preparations for your food. Take red wines out of the cupboards and ensure white wine is chilled. It is a good idea to chill several bottles or jugs of water too.
By preparing carefully, you’ll hopefully leave yourself with plenty of time to entertain once guests arrive. Ensure each is offered a drink on arrival and introduce any guests that do not already know one another. Relax, enjoy the evening and try to split your time carefully between cooking and entertaining. Tidy as you go along, but forget about the washing up – it can wait until morning!