Follow these tips from the Food Network's David Rocco
Photography by George Whiteside
Food Styling by David Grenier
Prop Styling by Lara Mcgraw
First published in Wish Winter 2008
1. Visualize the evening you want.
Think about the guests, the food, and the flow of the evening. Once you can see it, plan a menu a week in advance, and start prepping.
2. Set the table the night before.
When the little things are done, you can have more fun.
3. Think like a chef.
Get all your ingredients washed, chopped and ready to go. Go over everything you need for all dishes. Some recipes may have the same ingredients and you can double up when prepping.
4. Enlist the kids.
Get them to help with chopping onions and herbs, and peeling potatoes.
5. Pre-prep your dessert.
Certain desserts hold up really well in the freezer. if you make one ahead, all you have to do is pull it out the night of. Try our Cookie Dough Truffles or Effortless Almond Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches recipes!
6. Get to know your butcher or fish monger.
Let them know what you'll be needing. Order and set a pickup date.
7. Pace yourself.
Know how long it takes to prep your ingredients and how long it takes for each dish to cook. Then work backwards.
8. Ask for help.
People want to chip in, especially during the holidays. Pre-select who should help out when guests arrive, even if it's simply opening the champagne.
9. Don't panic.
If something isn't working out as planned, chill. Serve pre-dinner appetizers so that if dinner is delayed, you can buy some time.
10. Have fun.
If it's not fun for the host, it shows.