Ina Garten Says Serving Trays Are Essential For Outdoor Parties

When it comes to hosting dinner parties and making it look effortless, Ina Garten is a reliable source for those of us entertaining friends at home. For outdoor parties, specifically, Garten uses trays to reduce trips back and forth from the kitchen and keep table displays looking aesthetically pleasing and Instagram-worthy.

On Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa," Garten admits that as much fun as backyard barbecues might be, the hassle of preparing food inside and cooking on grills outside can add logistical complexities to hosting. In addition to prepping ingredients in advance, Garten piles items on trays so that once she has set out ingredients and fired up the grill, she has a better chance of enjoying the outdoor party with her friends. Trays help hosts move multiple plates and dishes with more ease, and the larger surface areas can be used to set empty glasses and dirty dishes on top to make clean-up easier after the party is over.

Bringing elegance and ease to the party

Elegant, clean platters can add a simple touch of refinement to outdoor parties and backyard barbecues, but if you don't own a silver tray or carrying platter, you can also get creative by using larger wooden cutting boards to move ingredients and present dishes on tables. Cutting boards aren't just for charcuterie spreads and cheese platters; Consider setting out snackable sides like hummus, pretzels, sliced cucumbers, and salads for guests to serve themselves. 

"I just think platters are great because people can take as much or as little as they want. If something's vegetarian, they can just take the vegetarian things and not the meat," Garten told CNN. While Garten has voiced her preference for white platters from Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma, per her website, antique trays and more decorative, colorful trays can bring a touch of whimsy and fun to any backyard picnic, and you may notice your guests taking pictures to share with their friends and post to their socials.