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Party idea submitted by BizGirl Feb 2nd, 2008
Fine Dining Dinner Party
Ideas, Hints and Suggestions for:
Setting The Table
Serving Order of each Course
Serving Your Guests
1) Extend an invitation one month in advance to include what, when and where.
2) Request an RSVP with a specific reply date.
3) Give directions, if needed.
4) Inquire if any food allergies and food preferences.
What Shall They Bring
If you want your guests to bring something, include that in your invitation, such as wine for a certain course, or if you want them to bring a certain course.
If you want a dress code, specify this in the invitation. When you spend time to prepare a gourmet dinner menu, you do not want someone wearing jeans or shorts unless otherwise specified. With everyone dressed up, it sets the mood even more for an elegant dinner party.
!potty mouth! dresses or long gowns
Dinner jackets and dark suits
A nice dress or pants outfit for women
Jacket, shirt and tie for men
Sporty outfit for women or casual dresses
Sport shirts, sweaters, slacks for men
1) Plan your entire dinner with several courses.
2) Make sure the menu is compatible with each course, keeping in mind different textures and colors.
3) Choose recipes you have already tried and tested and know they are good, you do not want to serve something that will not be a hit.
4) If using an oven, choose recipes with similar temperatures, this will make it easier for you if you have to bake several things between courses, and it will be quicker, you do not want your guests waiting too long for the next entree.
5) Make a list of all the grocery items you need to purchase.
6) Make a detailed list of all food preparation that needs to be done, (e.g. chop 1/4 cup celery finely; defrost 1 cup shrimp; pick 8 sprigs parsley from garden;), no matter how small you may think it is, write it down. Plan ahead and be well organized. Do as much ahead of time as possible, do not leave many things to be done the day of the dinner party, you will be too exhausted; this is very important! Label every ingredient that you have prepared ahead of time and what it will be used for, (e.g. 2 tablespoons chives for soup), so that you can grab it and use it immediately when you need it.
7) Plan a garnish for each course; this adds elegance to a dinner and makes a beautiful presentation.
8) Determine the wine to accompany each course and how much you will need. If you are not sure, ask a wine steward or sommelier.
SETTING THE TABLE
1) Use your best China, glass stemware, tableware, table linens and napkins, no paper please! This sets the mood for an elegant evening.
2) Use charger plates if you have them.
3) Choose a centerpiece low enough that everyone can see over it.
4) Use candles as the only light. This sets the mood for an elegant dining experience. Light them just before everyone is seated.
5) For something different, type your menu in the format of a fine dining menu listing all the courses, then translate them into French or Spanish, or Italian, or whatever theme your dinner may be. Print them out small enough so that you can place one beside each place setting.
6) You may want to use placards.
7) You may want to make take-home favors.
1) Seat yourself and your helper closest to the kitchen.
2) Use random seating or specify seating by placards.
3) Consider placing shy people next to talkative people.
Set The Mood
1) Use soft, mellow, pleasant background music that does not interfere with conversations.
2) Don’t forget to light the candles.
SERVING ORDER OF EACH COURSE
What course to serve first? The salad course, pasta course, soup course, cheese course?
1) An amuse-bouche, if used, should be served first, followed by the appetizer course, being either a stand-up or a sit-down style or both.
2) Alternate your courses by serving a heavy course then a light course, e.g. cream soup (heavy), followed by a green salad (light), then a pasta course (heavy), etc.
3) Always serve a citrus sorbet before the main entree as a palate cleanser for the main attraction. Do not use a sweet sorbet, save this for a dessert course.
4) Once you determine the order of your courses, write it down and refer to it in the kitchen so you will know what course comes next.
SERVING YOUR GUESTS
1) Do not pass the dish. Plate up each course in the kitchen and serve restaurant style. This allows you to be creative by decorating the plate with the food you have so carefully planned and it also delights your guests to see their food arranged and presented to them so beautifully.
2) Determine ahead of time what plates, tableware if additional is needed from what you already have on the table, etc. and how many you will need for each course. It is a good idea to use the layering system to make each course look even more elegant, that is, use several plates, etc. of different colors and shapes to present your creation. Put them in the kitchen with a note on each stack so you will know what course is to go on what plates.
3) For each course, make a list of all the foods that go on that plate for that particular course and refer to it as you are plating up. Many times I have overlooked certain things that should have gone on the plate, now I make a list to refer too. Don’t forget the garnish!
4) Serve no more than one-half cup serving per person for courses such as the soup course, the salad course and the pasta course. If you serve too much of one course, your guests will not have room for the beautiful dessert you have prepared.
5) When plating up, keep the rim of the plate clear of food and garnishes. Think of the plate as a painting. An artist never paints the frame. Use a clean damp cloth to clean any smudges or spills on the rim before serving.
6) Do not keep your dinner guests waiting too long between courses. If you have planned your dinner well, you will not have this problem.
7) Announce to your guests at the time you serve them what each course is and name a few of the ingredients, tell them a little about the wine you have chosen to accompany this course. This is another added touch to the elegance of your meal and they will appreciate the information.
8) Serve women first, from the eldest to the youngest, and then serve the men, eldest to the youngest.
9) Serve food from the left and pick up empty plates from the right. Leave the charger plate on the table.
9) Ask a helper to pour the wine while you are serving the different courses.
Contributed by: http://www.finedinings.com/planning_an_elegant_fine_dining_.htm
Photo by: Neeta Lind on Flickr
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