Dinner How To

How to Make Your Tasting Menu Dinner Party a Roaring Success

You’ve invited your friends over for dinner. You know you want to put on a bit of a show but you’re bored of cooking a three course meal. So what else can you do? Try putting together your own tasting menu at home. It’s small, it’s focused and it's without a doubt the challenge you're looking for.

How Does a Tasting Menu Work?

The idea of a tasting menu is to serve several courses of small portions. This lets you practice a huge range of cooking techniques while tying together different flavours and textures. Serving lots of courses may sound daunting, but there are a few simple steps you can take to make your tasting menu dinner a roaring success...

5 Tips to Serving a Tasting Menu at Home

1. Pick a Theme or Cuisine
Before you decide on anything else you must pick a theme or cuisine. It can be simple or abstract. The choice is yours. Once you decide on something it'll act as a framework for you to develop some ideas for your tasting menu. Which leads me on to the second tip...

2. Preparation is Key
This is probably the most important one. Get your ideas down on paper and work out a strategy. What needs to be prepared beforehand? What order do you want to serve your tasting menu dinner? These are the questions you need to ask yourself before you buy your ingredients.

Choose courses which allow you to do a lot of preparation in advance. The less cooking you can do on the night the better. Think of it as short bursts rather than a marathon.

Here's 13 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks You Need to Know to save you time prepping your tasting menu dinner.

3. Serve Small Portions
Just a few bites will do. The aim is to leave your guests wanting more rather than filling up on the first few dishes.

Heavy and hearty flavours can fill you up quickly. So consider balancing your tasting menu with some lighter courses to cleanse your guests' palate and stop them overindulging.

4. Don't Leave Too Much Time Between Each Dish
You want the night to flow. If there’s too long a break between each course you’ll risk dragging the night out for hours. And no one wants to be left twiddling their thumbs when food’s involved.

Consider leaving several minutes before each dish. If you’ve just served a dish full of rich flavours leave it a little longer before serving the next.

5. Put Some Thought Into Your Tableware
So you’ve worked really hard on the food but all your plates need some attention. Maybe they’re chipped. Or just old. Either way the plates and tableware you use deserve some TLC.

Plates can emphasise your chosen theme and act as frame to your food. If the food you’re serving is dark in colour, use a light coloured plate and vice versa.

Don't limit yourself to your standard sets of crockery though. Think about your theme here. Using presentation boards or slate trays could be the finishing touch your tasting menu needs.

Olympia Kiln Moss Triangular Plate (GP472) | Olympia Smooth Edged Slate Platter (CM061)

Click here to see Home Chef’s Tableware selection

There is a step 6. It involves recruiting an extra pair of hands to help you throughout the day. This step is completely optional and depends on the effectiveness of your persuasive skills. But if you've invited a few guests to your tasting menu dinner it's always nice to have the extra support. Or maybe you just want to leave them with the washing-up while you put your feet up. Now there's an idea...    

By Briony Cook
Copy Editor at Home Chef.
It's no secret Briony's passionate about food. She's always talking about it. And if she's not talking it's because she's eating. Briony knows a thing or two about baking and her colleagues love it when she brings in her latest creation.

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