Game Day Appetizers | The Austin Artisan

Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party or dinner with friends, hors d’oeuvres always steal the show. What your guests love is the opportunity to sample and pick which delicious appetizer they please with each of the game’s biggest moments. They get to try a variety of small bites without committing to a full portion of any one thing. It’s like ordering five mini entrees off the menu instead of just one.

As the host, this is your chance to really showcase your cooking style. But it can be difficult to find great recipes. It may even seem simpler to go for a tub of dip or a frozen pizza. I hear you, but I can also help you. Check out these easy, elegant game-day appetizer recipes you can create without overwhelm. We promise, the perfect appetizer CAN leave more time for the game and less time in the kitchen!

Our 3 Favorite Game Day Appetizers

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Manchego Cheese

A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and a little bit crunchy. These bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with manchego cheese might just be so good, they will have your guests paying less attention to the football game and more attention to snagging the last piece. 

Bacon wrapped dates sit on a plate.

Instructions: Split open the dates and fill with cheese. Wrap each date with a piece of bacon and skewer individually to hold them together. Place dates on a baking sheet with space in between each so the bacon can crisp up. Bake at 350° F for 10-12 minutes. Hint: Cook the bacon to the texture you would enjoy at breakfast.

Baked Brie with Jam

A personal favorite of mine, this effortless appetizer uses a few key ingredients and requires hardly any effort. And if you ask us, it belongs at any appetizer almost as much as blue cheese dip. 

Baked brie with jam and nuts.

Instructions: Rest a wedge of brie on a cheese board or platter. Top with good-quality cherry preserves (want to make your own? check out our cherry preserves recipe here!) or serve cherries alongside the cheese in a ramekin. Enjoy with crostini. You can also warm the cheese and cherries on a greased baking sheet for about 10 minutes in a 350° F before serving.

Fancy Wonton Nachos w/ Pickled Onions

Nachos and cheese are a must at any Super Bowl party, with Dorito’s nacho cheese flavor taking the top pick for Americans. But this wonton version is full of even more craveable flavors. 

Fancy wonton nachos with mozzarella and pickled onions.

Instructions: Fry wonton wrappers in hot oil for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, season with salt, and let cool. (Alternatively, replace wonton wrappers with baked tortilla chips.) Spread onto an oven-safe serving dish. Top with black beans or refried beans, and Oaxaca or fresh mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350° F just to melt the cheese. Add pickled onions and serve.

For Homemade Pickled Onions: Thinly slice 1 sweet onion and transfer to a 1-pint deli container. Fill the container with enough red-wine vinegar to submerge the onions. Add ½-1 tsp. of sugar, if desired. Let sit overnight.

Live in the Austin area? Check out our party packages!

Want to serve great food without ALL the work that goes into it? The Austin Artisan is here to help! We love putting together party packages to help you have a winning night (no matter who wins the big game)! Call us today at 737-307-2250 to get started!

At Home in Austin: 6 Valentine’s Day Activities

Re-imagine Austin as the most romantic city on Earth with these Valentine’s Day activities

Valentine’s Day might be one of the most divisive holidays in existence. You either love it, or you hate it. If you fall into the “loving it” category, you might still be loving it a bit less this year. After all, let’s face the facts. A pandemic isn’t the best setting for a romantic Valentine’s Day. 

Luckily, you can still enjoy many Valentine’s Day activities and stay relatively safe with the proper precautions. After all, romance is not in quarantine. 

Let’s countdown our favorite Valentine’s Day activities for love in the time of coronavirus, Austin style!

Forget roses. Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center instead.

Founded by former first lady Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes, this botanical garden is an Austin favorite for a good reason. Featuring over 900 species of plants native to Texas, it is considered the best place in this area to view wildflowers. But the garden offers much more than that, from educational programs to charming artwork and even a whimsical dragonfly sculpture. As a chef, I love learning about the garden’s culinary aspects, which are so vast that they even offer guided herb and cooking tours from time to time! 

This is the kind of place to aimlessly wander and enjoy breathtaking views and quiet, peaceful moments. Make sure you set up reservations ahead of time, as the gardens are carefully following recommended social distancing protocols. There is so much to explore, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a wonderland of sights, sounds, and smells. 

The perfect Valentine’s Day activity? A romantic dinner prepared by your own private chef. 

Did anyone just say dinner for two? How about dinner for a few, made by your own private chef? There is nothing more romantic than a once-in-a-lifetime gourmet experience that will have even Cupid green with envy. Here at The Austin Artisan we decided to make 2021 a Valentine’s Day to remember. We’ve opened up 5 private dinner party reservations just for you, your valentine, and your favorite double dates! 

 

We are whipping up a tantalizing feast for the affair, and believe us when we say it’s designed to indulge all of the senses. We’re talking a 6-course meal plus hors d’oeuvres, amuse, intermezzo, and mignardise, all prepared in your own kitchen by one of our artisan chefs. We promise not to look if you are inspired to spoon-feed each other a dollop of the Chocolate Panna Cotta with Vanilla Cream Anglaise. At the time of this posting, we only have 5 reservations available. Call us today at (512) 436-2401 to book your dinner party.

Book a Valentine’s Day dinner hosted by your own private chef.

Spend Valentine’s Day exploring Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake offers a variety of Valentine’s Day activities to suit just about any taste. A sunset walk along the boardwalk is almost as good as Paris for offering a city of lights, sights, and soundscapes. You could stroll down one of the many hiking and biking trails taking in the charming stops along the way, such as the Barton Creek pedestrian bridge, one of my personal favorites. If you want to include Fido in your Valentine’s Day activities, you can always stop at the dog park. Feeling more adventurous? There’s always taking a boat paddling on the lake itself, which is the perfect pairing for a romantic sunset kiss if you ask me. 

Take a Romantic Picture at the “I Love You So Much” Mural

In a world of influencers and instant Instagram fame, it might be easy to label a photo stop in front of a mural that says “I Love You So Much” as just flat out predictable. But while it might seem a bit weird to stand with your valentine in front of a spray-painted wall, there’s something to be said for cheesy Valentine’s Day activities, and besides, as we like to say here in Austin, #KeepAustinWeird. The site is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. It’s even garnered the attention of TripAdvisor, who gave it the coveted Traveler’s Choice Award. You can check out some of the other incredible murals in the area with this free guide to Austin’s Most Famous South Congress Murals

Take in the Views at Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnel has been a favorite for young lovers as far back as the 1800s when youngsters would bring their picnic blankets and their would-be romances for an alfresco meal here. The site continues to attract tourists willing to climb the approximately 100 steps to reach the top. Why someone would make such an effort is no longer a mystery once you see the view. On a clear day, you can see the majesty of Austin, the Colorado River, and the Hill Country. It is one of the best places to view starry-skies and a few of those storied constellations at night. 

Take a romantic stroll through Austin’s fascinating history. 

From the Driskill Hotel to the Rainy Street Historic District, Austin has a lot of local favorites, and many are oozing with history. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to take a romantic stroll with your honey bun and discover the cultural and architectural offerings that are uniquely Austin. You can use free guides such as this self-guided walking tour of Austin or use paid services, apps, or historical societies to find the tour that works best for your interests. 

Austin, Texas, USA downtown cityscape at dusk.

Paris? We’ve got our own urban landscape of city lights. Venice? Austin has its own lake to explore. And the greatest culinary wizardry on Earth? Austin’s dining scene is one to be envied. At The Austin Artisan, we think some of the best food on Earth is to be found here; from Tex-Mex tacos to devilishly delightful queso, there are so many flavors that are uniquely Austin. 

Sure, those other cities are romantic. But with these Valentine’s Day activities,  you’ll discover that Austin has its unique charms, even in a pandemic. 

How to Throw a Social Distancing Party

We’re all a little new at this post-lockdown pandemic new normal. Businesses are opening up, but people are more or less venturing out with a healthy dose of trepidation. It also yields a whole host of unanswered (and often unanswerable) questions:

When you do see friends again, do you hug? Do you shake hands with strangers? How do you eat with a mask on? Or drink for that matter? (We tried it – it just soaks into the mask.)

Regardless, babies and birthdays still happen just as the world keeps on turning. This is a weird time to try to follow rules because right now, there are no rules. So it’s time to write some! Here are our tips for gathering with distance.

How to Throw a Social Distancing Party

Maintain an attitude of no judgment. Everybody is different, and everybody’s situation is different. People may have underlying conditions or be living with someone that is at high risk. The point here is to be understanding and put people at ease. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable gathering, offer a video call for everyone that doesn’t attend. We also suggest reminding everyone on the invite that this is a no-hugging, no hand-shaking zone.

Stay outdoors and make sure you have enough space. We definitely recommend keeping any festivities outdoors and making sure that you have enough space to accommodate the 6-foot guideline with the number of guests that plan on attending. In other words, 20 people is an inappropriate number for an apartment patio that’s 4×12.

Keep your guest list small. Now is not the time to throw a giant rager. Keep your party size limited to your local government’s recommended group size (or less).

Mark your distances. You can do this with some inexpensive social distancing decals or come up with something more creative, like tiki torches. Just make sure to measure that each marker is 6 feet apart.

BYOB. Sure, you can try to give every couple their own pitcher of margaritas and meticulously wipe down every carafe. Or, you could just make it BYOB and BYOC (bring your own cooler.) Done and done.

Make masks mandatory. If you think you’ll have a couple of non-maskers in attendance, make it part of the theme. You can set up stations with the paper masks for everyone to decorate, or make it a mask-required costume party! Alternatively, have a prize for the best mask. Yes, we get that it’s difficult to drink with a mask on (see above) so just do the best you can. However, nobody will wear one when they’re not drinking if they don’t even have a mask with them.

What about the bathrooms? Bathroom access is probably the most difficult part about trying to host a social distancing party. Make sure there is a no-touch route to the bathroom, and provide adequate soap and hand sanitizer for everyone to use before and after using the restroom. We also recommend sanitizing all touch surfaces before and after the party. Let’s hear it for sparkling light switches!

How do you cook for a crowd that’s socially distanced? Food options are also a challenge. We suggest calling a personal chef that also offers meal delivery service. They are better prepared to individually package each meal than a typical catering service. And the food will be fabulous, to boot!

 

Tips for Creating the Perfect Intimate Dinner at Home

There’s a difference between staying in to “Netflix and chill” and creating a wonderful night out at home. You can take your weekend at-home evenings beyond snuggles and popcorn with just a little extra effort. While a special occasion often begs going out, staying in can be just as special, whether you’re getting over a cold and don’t want to head out into public or simply don’t want to book a babysitter.

Create Your Own Ambiance

There’s no reason you can’t snazz up your patio or dining room into a space with ambiance and flair. Break out the tablecloths, candles and that fine china you almost never use to create a restaurant feel at home. And our biggest tip: properly set the table to give your dinner an air of fancy! You can even leave the kids to their own devices indoors while you create a bistro on the patio. (Note: we mean electronic devices…)

Plan a Special Menu

If you don’t want to deal with cooking and cleaning, consider reaching out to a personal chef for a “dinner for two.” A personal chef is more than happy to come cook for you in your home. Often they’ll even deliver a 3-course menu. Don’t forget to procure a special bottle of wine to pair with your dinner, or ask your preferred meal delivery service if they can deliver wine, too!

Start with an Aperitif

Every great night out starts with a cocktail. Put on a little music and shake up a craft cocktail (or mocktail) to start the evening off right! The best part is this can last as long as you want – there’s no hostess disrupting your pre-dinner drink to let you know the table’s ready, so take advantage and take a leisurely approach!

Don’t Forget Dessert

Dessert is often put aside when dining at home, but a special night calls for a little something sweet at the end of your meal. It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate. Consider sharing a piece of cake or pie a la mode! If you don’t have a sweet tooth or if you subscribe to a keto or other low-carb dietary plan, do dessert like the French and have a small cheese board.

Include the Kids

One of the advantages of a night out at home is not having to get a sitter. While your options may vary depending on the age of your kids, consider including them in your fancy dinner! Set the table for everyone, ask for their input on a centerpiece, or even get them some sparkling cider to put in a wine glass. They will have just as much fun as you will, and you’re creating a family experience to remember.

Staying in doesn’t mean you have to have a buffet-style, casual affair every time. Whether you have a special occasion or your reason is no reason at all, we can help! We have a special Date Night Delivered package featuring a 3-course meal delivered to your doorstep. Contact us for more information on how we can help you create an in-home dining experience to remember, or order our Date Night Delivered™ online!

How to Plate Like a Personal Chef

Plate at Home Like a Personal Chef

When it comes to any dining experience, we feast with our eyes before even picking up a fork. There’s nothing better than when the server sets down a perfectly plated dish and getting that “wow” effect right before you dig in. While you may not have honed your own technique with foams or sauce drizzles, there are a few things you can do to dress up your mealtimes at home. This is especially fun for our personal chef clients in Austin that get our prepared meal delivery services. We take a lot of care in curating your weekly menus, and while we carefully “plate” them in your containers, just a little thought and effort goes a long way into creating that restaurant-style experience in your home. Practicing your plating skills regularly also makes for an impressive presentation when you have dinner guests.

Here are a few simple tips and tricks we use that you can play around with at home!

Use White Plates

Have you ever noticed that most restaurants serve their food on white plates? Using white plates is one of the oldest chef tricks in the book. Everything from colorful vegetables to a perfectly seared piece of meat really pops on a bright white background.

Noodles plated by personal chef

Embrace Negative Space

Your entrée needs a little bit of breathing room. People often tend to grab a plate and fill it up, particularly when eating at home. “Negative space” is the artistic term for the blank space around the subject. Think about the plate as your canvas and the different food components as your paint. Does the dish just beg to be centered, or a little bit askew? Consider how the blank part of the plate plays into the whole presentation.

Utilize Height

Layering and stacking ingredients can add another element of interest to your dish. Consider putting that purée under your protein, or stacking and leaning the ingredients against each other. Sauces can also be used as a base layer of color instead of being drizzled on top.

Stacked pork loin plated by a personal chef

Thoughtfully Garnish

A garnish always helps a dish pop, particularly if your main entrée is a bit monotoned and/or brown (like meat). Always garnish. However, garnish thoughtfully. Less is more. It’s also worth a mention to consider your dish and complementary flavors when garnishing. Don’t just throw some red pepper on there for a color pop unless it will actually lend itself to the flavor of the dish.

We think meal times are special. Gathering around the table (be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner) is a time to connect, reflect and take a breather from our busy day-to-day. Whether you’re experimenting as your own chef at home or taking advantage of our prepared meal delivery services, putting a little time and care into your weekly meal routine makes every meal a special occasion.

To learn more about our personal chef delivery services, fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly!

Your Complete Thanksgiving Checklist

Putting together a big meal like Thanksgiving dinner is all about the planning. Stay organized and keep track of everything you need with our Thanksgiving Checklist.

For anyone who’s hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, you know that it isn’t easy—and you can’t put it together at the last minute. This a food-centric holiday that requires advance planning, and it’s never too early to start.

Thanksgiving Checklist

4 weeks ahead (that would be now):

  • Finalize Your Guest List: Call friends and family or follow up with them. You’ll need to know approximately how many people you can expect as soon as possible.
  • Plan the Menu: Create a list of all the appetizers, sides and desserts you’ll want to serve. Include drinks, such as wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Print or Bookmark Recipes: After you plan the menu, earmark your recipes. This will help you plan your shopping list.

3 Weeks Ahead:


  • Create A Shopping List: Look at all of your recipes and decide how much of each ingredient you’ll need to feed all of your guests.
  • Source The Turkey: Whether you’re buying the turkey at a farm or grocery store, get your order in now to ensure you secure the best quality bird.
  • Place Online Orders: If you have to buy extra place settings, décor or special cooking equipment, order or purchase that from now.

2 Weeks Ahead:

  • Make Room: Clean out your fridge, freezer and pantry, so you’ll have space for the turkey and all the items you’ll prepare in advance.
  • Start Shopping: Buy ingredients for the foods you’ll cook this week. For example, you can prepare pie crusts, homemade stock and rolls, and keep them in the freezer.
  • Get Cooking: Begin your first round of cooking, and freeze foods in airtight containers. Be sure to label each item.

1 Week Ahead

  • Shop for Non-Perishables: Buy items for any recipes you plan to cook and freeze this week. Also, finish shopping for all non-perishables, such as canned goods, frozen veggies, paper towels and beverages.
  • Pick up Tom: If you ordered a turkey, make sure you pick it up. If it’s frozen, just remember it’ll take a few days to defrost and brine it.
  • Set the Table: Get the table set from now. Make it look festive with gourds, cloth napkins and tapered candles.

The Week of

  • Buy Perishables: Shop for fresh foods about 3-4 days in advance.
  • Finish Cooking: Defrost crusts and assemble pies. Blanch vegetables, boil potatoes, arrange appetizer platters and keeping plugging away at your recipes. On the big day, stuff and roast the turkey, toss salads and reheat all your pre-made dishes. (The last-minute details will depend on your menu.)
  • Enjoy the Holiday: After all your hard work, it’s time to sit and eat. And remember to toast to the host!

Our Thanksgiving Menus Are Here! Does this checklist feel overwhelming? Cross off everything right now by hiring us to do the cooking for you. Our menus are customizable, and feature Citrus Brined Turkey, Brown Gravy, House-made Cranberry Sauce and 3 additional sides. Contact us today to place your order.

Pair wine & food like an expert!

Not sure how to properly pair food with wine?

With holiday entertaining upon us, there’s no better time to talk about pairing wine with food. And the question we get from so many of our clients is, “Which wine goes with which food?”

Texture and flavor elements in foods and wines interact with each other, so finding the perfect match can be essential to properly highlighting flavors and notes from a carefully designed menu.

Years of personal experience pairing fine foods and wines, as well as close collaborations with the best sommeliers in town allow The Austin Artisan to bring you the best of both worlds. We build innovative menus and source the ideal wine partners to complement your chosen flavor profile and deliver the most well-rounded culinary experience possible. See how we do it!

Another great way to discover new wines and experience how they interact with food is to host an in-house wine tasting. Wine tastings are a casually classy way to gather small groups and intimately engage them in the world of wine. Our knowledge and selection of world-class wines can create a memorable sipping soirée for everyone, from novice to connoisseur. Ready to turn your living room into a tasting room?  Check out our wines.

 

Host a high-end dinner party!

Planning a dinner party soon? Don’t want to be the stressed-out host?  

You’ve probably thrown a few dinner parties before.  The scenario usually looks like this: you spend all day in the kitchen, stressing about the menu, food preparation, cleaning up, in addition to having to play the perfect host. Sure, you can hire a caterer to prepare a meal for your next dinner party, but…Have you thought about hiring a personal chef,  a creator of unique, luxury culinary experiences?

We all want to impress our dinner group, especially around the holidays. Imagine elevating your dining experience by preparing a meal that makes everyone feel special in some way, which is The Austin Artisan’s specialty!

Using food as a vessel for that special gathering, we ensure each dinner party is customized to your specific event and guest of honor. Whether you want to host a five-course meal or an elegant cocktail party, our passion for outstanding food, genuine hospitality, and culinary entertainment is the cornerstone of each event the we cater.

Our Artisans pride themselves on selecting only the best ingredients, and that means eating in season. Seasonal, local produce is better tasting, easier to source, and aligns with the natural harvest cycle. With fall upon us and the changing weather means a shift in the produce that is available. Together, we will design the perfect menu for your gathering using the freshest, local ingredients. When we are at your home, our chefs encourage your guests to come gather around the kitchen and watch us prepare each meal, ask us questions, and participate in a lively dialogue.

Michael and his Team will help you handle (almost) everything. Our Artisans are a professional team of servers, bartenders, chefs, and support staff. We can even help you source the right china, barware, glassware, and linens.

Give your guests the ultimate dining experience. Our Artisans can assure the most exclusive dinner reservation in town is at your own table. Contact us to schedule your premier private dining and personal chef experience for your upcoming gathering.

11 Countdown to Christmas Party Planning Steps

Throw a Memorable Celebration without Losing Your Christmas Spirit!

Entertaining guests this holiday season? Need tips to pull-off a stress-free gathering?

To help you make your holiday gatherings extra-special, the Austin Artisan is brimming with festive ideas to help you prepare a grand, celebratory meal. Whether throwing an elegant holiday get-together or intimate cocktail party, these countdown to party planning steps will help you enjoy your party–just as much as your guests.

Plan for these eleven think-ahead steps to help host a flawless and memorable gathering:

1. Plan the menu
Begin planning your holiday gathering by reviewing recipes and menu ideas. Once you’ve decided on the number of courses, the format, and the theme, you’re ready to plan the menu. Consider what’s in season, what you can source locally, and what you feel comfortable preparing. If cooking on your own, start your shopping early to find specialty items.

The Austin Artisan can cater a magical Christmas gathering and help you plan the perfect menu for your event!   Check out our blog for some recipe ideas.

2.Get organized

Plan your table settings, serving dishes, and other holiday decorations. Our Boutique Catering Service will help you handle (almost) everything. Our Artisans are a professional team of servers, bartenders, chefs, and support staff. We can even help you source the right china, barware, glassware, and linens.

3. Consider dietary restrictions
Try to mix up gluten free options as well as salads and other meatless dishes for vegetarians.

4.  Select your appetizers
Plan for a few mouth-watering starters that warm up the palette for what’s to come: a main course that leaves your guests wanting seconds.

5. Set up beverage station
Create a beverage station near the kitchen so it will be convenient for guests to replenish ice, pour wine, and gather glassware. When it comes to the perfect Christmas gathering, our clients enlist our boutique catering services to help pair the best wines with the variety of foods you are serving. You’re sure to learn something new and find your favorite wine and food combination.

6.  Make a timeline for party day
Decide when you’ll be feasting, then count backward to determine when to put the turkey, ham or roast in the oven and what else needs to be cooked beforehand so you can relax and enjoy your time when guests arrive.

7. Prepare before guests arrive
Make it easy on yourself and serve as many room temperature dishes as possible. The Austin Artisan has been catering festive Christmas dinner parties for several years and has developed a step-by-step process to create a super organized, hassle-free dinner party for our clients.

8. Make the most of space.
To keep guests from crowding your kitchen while you are doing last minute preparations, put appetizers in other rooms around your home and if weather permits, encourage guests to gather on the back patio before the main course.

9. Select music
A few days before your holiday gathering, make a play list of that will set the mood.

10. Indulge your guests with sweets
You can never have too many sweets. Consider simple items like store-bought cookies or pies, and offer one decadent homemade dessert. The Austin Artisan can help plan for the perfect mix from freshly sliced fruit, to an assortment of pies and pastries.

11. Debrief
After the party, note successes and shortfalls that will guide your next event.

Host the ultimate holiday party — and forget the stress when you enlist the Austin Artisans to cater your Christmas celebration.  Spread the joy this season with neighbors, friends and family, and treat them to the best Christmas and holiday party they’ve been to all year! Nothing brings people together like the holidays!

 

How to Plan a Multi-Course Meal

You’ve just enjoyed a multi-course meal at your favorite restaurant and now you want to prepare one at home. I’m not surprised; everyone loves a coursed meal. Thomas Keller, famed restaurateur and owner of The French Laundry, explains that flavors are heightened during the first few bites of a dish. Eventually “flavor saturation and palate fatigue set in,” which is known as “the law of diminishing returns.” Because of this, he feels that the concept of coursing is to leave your diners wanting one more bite—in other words, stopping before their taste buds get bored.

Coursed meals also enable your guests to enjoy a variety of smaller plates. The menus are diverse and the dishes build upon each other. The chef is given the time and freedom to create a story through food.

But don’t let all of this intimidate you. I’ve been catering for several years so I’ve developed a step-by-step process that helps me create from a place of peace—not panic. With the right guidance (ahem!), I’m confident that you can showcase your cooking skills and curate a coursed meal that will earn you some serious bragging rights.

 How to Plan a Multi-Course Meal

 1. Decide on the number of courses

The number of courses you wish to serve is completely up to you. But note that the courses will not only dictate the number of entrees but also the total time spent enjoying the meal. For example, a 3-course meal can take an hour to serve and eat, while a 5-course meal can take 2 or more hours. If you don’t want to be serving all night, then perhaps you should start with a more modest number, like 3.

2. Select a format

If you serve a 3-course menu, a typical format includes a
Salad
Entrée
Dessert

If you opt for a 5-course menu, the format might include a
Soup
Salad
Fish or Poultry Course
Beef, Lamb, or Pork Course
Dessert

This is your dinner party so you select any cadence that feels most appetizing to you.

3. Choose a theme

You don’t have to go with a theme, but it’s suggested. A theme can help you keep the menu focused and it adds an element of fun. The theme can be centered on a vibrant color, cooking method, culture or country, or single ingredient.

4. Curate the menu

Once you’ve decided on the number of courses, the format, and the theme, you’re ready to plan the menu. First, list out all of the courses you want to serve. Next to each, jot down some ideas. It’s helpful to consider what’s in season, what you can source locally, and what you feel comfortable preparing. While my supper club has ended, you can check out this blog post to see my menu.

5. Have fun

I know it’s cliché, but think about the reason you’re throwing a party or planning a meal. It’s enjoyable and a great way to share your culinary skills with friends and family. So have fun and remember, it’s just food. Cook (and serve) as you wish!