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Today: Tips and tricks for hosting like you do it every weekend (you do, right?).
When we're in a hosting pickle, or looking for inspiration for our next dinner party, we've found it's always best to look inward—that is, to our community. The best tips are buried, to be found like truffles or morels (i.e. after a good, long search), hidden in the middle of a comment chain, or as a response to a question on Twitter. But since it's easy to become impatient with the search, and we're always psyched to uncover a new trick, we like to ask people, straight up, when they step into our kitchen, er, site.
This time, we did the work for you so you don't have to root around. We asked the guests (some of them, anonymously) at our San Francisco and New York City Genius Recipes dinners for their best hosting tips, from the decor to the food, and put them all in once place.
- Amanda Hesser says, "Lots of candles!"
- Tea lights are a low-risk, not-so-easy-to-knock-over option.
- Never underestimate the power of pretty bowls (and other dinnerware).
- Flowers, flowers, and more flowers.
- Bonus points if these flowers are wildflowers and in a glass jar.
- Do all the grocery shopping the day before, then use the day of the party to cook.
- Offer snacks and wine for guests to have while you finish cooking.
- Keep food colorful.
- Taylor Abrams loves a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe.
- Anjelika Temple says to "never underestimate the power of a wooden cheese board."
- Cut into said cheese plate before guests arrive—if it looks too perfect, guests will be more apprehensive about eating it.
- Everyone loves homemade ice cream.
- Family-style dishes are best for large gatherings.
- Drink champagne, says Jen Pelka.
- Themed cocktails (or, you know, any cocktails) are great, too.
- Patrick Wong opts for sous vide so he can mingle with guests while the cooking takes care of itself.
- Not ready to try sous vide? The above statement also applies to braises.
- Take 30 minutes before guests arrive to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
- Don't feel bad about keeping it to a small number of people—invite however many people you feel you can manage.
- Don't spend the whole time in the kitchen. It's your party, after all!
- Ask for help. You don't have to do it all alone.
- Plan ahead and try not to stress—this will only stress your guests out. A happy you is a happy dinner party.
Tell us your hosting hacks and tips in the comments below!
Photos by James Ransom, Nanette Wong, Harry Kong, and Bobbi Lin
To learn more about hosting beautifully with Stella Artois, head here, and use the hashtag #hostbeautifully to share photos and tips from your own dinner parties.