How to... cook to impress

August 18, 2014
Whether you are aware of it or not, hosting people is a big deal. All of a sudden your friends, your partner, your in-laws – people you thought you could trust – all become experts on everything from food to presentation to flower arranging. To help assist you around this minefield of disapproving tutting, and to make sure people leave singing your praises, EDGAR turned to celebrity chef duo, Nick Alvis and Scott Price – of Nick and Scott fame – for tips on preparing the perfect dinner party.

Get the right kit

In most cases, having the right tools will make your life easier. Make sure you own the right-sized pans, matching crockery sets and high quality kitchen knives. Remember, furnishing is about quality, not quantity. In the kitchen, every man should own a good set of knives. I have a couple of handmade Japanese knives, they are expensive but last for years if you learn to keep them sharp.

Plan it through

The more you do before the guests arrive the better, so preparation is vital. The whole point of a dinner party is to be social and not to spend all night slaving away in the kitchen. You should never attempt a dish without trying it out at least once before. A trial run will help you nail the timing of things before hand so you get to sit and enjoy dinner too. howtocook1

Pace yourself

A trick we always recommend is starting with a simple dish that can be prepared ahead of time and is quick to serve – like a cold terrine or a soup with a nice fresh garnish. When it comes to mains, serving cold food is a fundamental error. Make sure you always serve on hot plates and cook something like a roast beef joint that keeps its heat once it’s out the oven. Food presentation is more important than you think and this is where you will impress the most. Take time to plate up each dish, making sure it looks good before serving.

Add a flourish

Remember you’re hosting a evening, not just a meal. So don’t be afraid to have some fun and throw some flair in there. Little touches tend to win over crowds so doing things such as serving a sorbet pallet cleanser between courses or using a pepper mill are simple and effortless. Or if you want to be more creative, try serving a course in a weird-shapped glass or old antique.

Read the mood

Dinner with your friends and family is a lot different from a romantic date. Anticipate what mood the party will have and adjust the music, lights and setting. But regardless of who’s coming, a real gentleman keeps his manners about him at all times. Details: visit