How To Do Everything Better: Plan a Dinner Party Like a Pro
New year, new you. With that in mind follow along as we hit up experts in far ranging fields from fashion to hospitality to travel for their thoughts on how to do everything better this year.
Some people just have entertaining in their blood. One of those people? Jess Hayden Mattheus, the chef and owner behind catering company du jour Hearth & Table, based in Brooklyn, New York.
Mattheus’ love of entertaining began early. “My parents used to throw the craziest Halloween parties in our basement when we were growing up,” she shared. “They always seemed to have a blast with great friends, music, food, dancing, and costumes! They usually started pretty late, but my parents used to let us come downstairs to see the guests’ costumes and say hi to everyone. I loved that!”
A big part of what makes Mattheus so great at entertaining is she truly does it from the heart. “I really love nourishing people and showing them good time, and I think that comes across when I entertain,” she shared.
Her tips on how to plan and host a bash will make your next soiree both effortless and utterly special all at once. In other words, we advise taking notes.
1. Keep It Simple. “Don’t overwhelm yourself by doing too much,” Mattheus says. “You are supposed to enjoy your own party. Maybe you cook the dinner, but [then] order some appetizers from your favorite restaurant or catering company to start off the evening.”
2. Presentation Is Key. “Plating is just as important as the food,” Mattheus says. “Make sure you know what platters you are using beforehand, and always have fresh herbs and citrus on hand to brighten up your platters.”
3. Mix Up Your Guest List. “All your guests do not have to know each other at each party,” Mattheus says. “It is always great to see people leave with new friends.”
4. Set the Mood. “Music and ambiance are key for a successful party! Have a playlist and decorate with candles and fresh flowers.”
5. Make It Personal. “At the most successful parties that I have thrown, I have cooked things that are a reflection of who I am and where I come from. Make sure your party is an extension of you. Your guests will appreciate how much you have opened up your home and will get a glimpse into who you are.”
6. If All Else Fails. “There are no disasters,” Mattheus advises to keep in mind at all times when you are entertaining. “Most of the time what you think is disaster your guests don’t even notice. They’re usually just great stories to look back on and laugh. Just remember to stay calm and know when to pick up the phone and ask, ‘Do you deliver?’”