The guest list has been made, the invites are out, now what? I’ve been known for throwing great parties with 30 or more people, but somehow dinner for 8 is really tough. With an intimate gathering as this, I choose not to hire my favorite caterer who can whip up perfectly toasted brioche rounds with crème fraiche and caviar. Every morsel of food that had been selected with such care. Every bite and sip, tip the party from just another fun evening to the conversational topics of discussions. This time I will try to recreate those magical evenings on my own. Luxury with an air of easiness, is my goal for this evening. I will take my interior design knowledge and melt it ever so delicately with music, food, and the love of good company. I figured I would start with the entertainment and work my way up.
Music, oh yes the music will play a significant role in my party. I have hired DJ’s in the past, but not for a dinner party of 8. The music will set the ambience, putting my guests in a great frame of mind. It’s also a great way of filling in any awkward silences. While carefully scanning through my iPod I have to think of the purpose of the dinner party and my guests. I want to keep the party at a level of sophistication with a touch of flair and interest. Maybe I could play songs from the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby or songs from the latest James Bond film, Skyfall.
I move onto the accents and tableware. I need cloth napkins, dinner plates, silverware, candles and fresh flowers, or course! Using a serving drink tray instantly elevates the party, keeping it polished, refined and an ease of luxury. I choose a color scheme and use it continuously throughout the décor. To many colors on the table will take away from my magical endeavor. If I have the time I will meticulously fold the linen napkins into a French pleat.
I can get creative with my centerpieces. Flowers in a vase are is always a go to choice, but what about dandelions scattered alone a wood plank. Instead of using the classic glass vase, blending flowers with asparagus is a idiosyncratic and beautiful way to add color to the table.
I feel there is a huge difference between eating and dining. Eating is the act of consuming, something we have to do to survive. Dining, however, refers to the cultural aspect of eating. Dining is the art and the experience of eating. It’s like reading a non-fiction novel through the eyes of the main character.
The meal should contain nothing overpowering or heavy. I like incorporating fresh and simple ingredients. Just a hint of this and a hint of that. A tomato and avocado salad with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper, is a great start. My main course would be a baked lemon chicken with a side of green beans and mushroom risotto rice.
I want to create an experience at my dining party. I want the scents and flavors of my food to speak for themselves. I will never know what each palate experiences, but when there is laughter and joy, I will know I have created the perfect dinner party.