Party like a chef

Cracking good fun: Crab boil from the American south is Will Balleau’s hit dish. Photo: Edwina Pickles

My cover story in today’s Age/SMH Good Food sections is all about partying like a chef. Well, tips from chefs about how to host parties at home, to be more specific…

It’s happened to us all. Cooking time miscalculations that result in mass drunkenness; socially catastrophic pairings of (too honest) primary school friends with (too sensitive) work colleagues; organisational oversights that make you feel less party-animal, more galley-slave. Hosting your own party is full of dangers but it’s also rich in rewards. With the silly season bearing down upon us, we consulted 16 of Australia’s best (party-animal) chefs for tips, advice and inspiration on how to throw a party.

Recurring themes include: keep things simple, be organised and do as much as you can in advance. On presentation: lead by example (show people how to eat your food); grow edible flowers to trick up salads; buy colourful napkins and stock your house with fresh flowers; food looks great on vintage crockery; get creative with your lighting; consider whole roasts such as fish, pumpkins and tomatoes on the vine for visual impact; make sure your bathroom looks tight.

Also, don’t forget to have fun. Other tips: give guests a drink or a snack immediately on arrival; keep a pizza delivery number handy for later in the night; clean up as you go; have a sober key-master so mates don’t drink-drive. And finally, don’t run out of booze.

Read the full story, including chefs’ tips on food, drinks and how to get your party started, here.