How to host the best dinner party


First aired on Metro Morning (16/5/13)


Summer is the season of backyard barbeques, of families and friends gathering together to enjoy a great meal. 

But before you accept any invitations to these dinner parties, beware: a dinner party can be a battleground for social faux pas, embarrassing moments and just plain safety hazards. That's  where Corey Mintz's new book How To Host A Dinner Party might come in handy. 

Toronto food writer Corey Mintz has been hosting dinner parties with a mix of friends and total strangers, inviting everyone from former Mayors and axe throwers to artists and poker stars. His new book is a how-to on entertaining and he spoke with CBC radio host Matt Galloway about his new book and how to be the ultimate host on Metro Morning.

Here are some of his tips:

  • On fanciness: The biggest mistake you can make is trying to be too fancy. Dinner parties are about spending time with friends and the food is secondary. The huge hurdle people throw in front of themselves is thinking it's about trying to impress people with their cooking instead of cooking something simple

  • On planning: You need to know what you are making well ahead of time, and make choices about how to make that easier. For example, if you plan to make a seviche, you can do all the chopping before hand and then toss it all together in lime juice when the guests arrive.

  • On latecomers: Never show hostility to latecomers. But after 30 minutes, you don't have to wait for them and they owe you a good explanation.
  • On technology at the table: You can't police people, but unless you are doctor -- keep your cell phones in your pockets.

  • On introductions: If people don't know each other introduce them and make them feel welcome, don't walk away until they are engrossed in conversation.

What dinner party tips would you add to Corey's list?

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