Entertaining

Throw a Dinner Party like Andrew Carmellini

Easy ways to elevate your next dinner party
Photos: Alyssa Ringler

We hosted an epic dinner with American chef and restaurateur Andrew Carmellini, and learned a few tips on how to throw an impressive dinner party. With more than 20 years of experience cooking in amazing kitchens, such as his latest endeavor, Little Park, chef Carmellini knows a thing or two about effortlessly cooking for a crowd. We took inspiration from Carmellini on how to do summer entertaining right and came up with four tips for throwing the perfect dinner party.

① Celebrate the season.
Cooking with what’s in season ensures that beautiful, colorful and fresh ingredients will be the star of your dishes. For example, this crudo di tonno with Sun Gold tomatoes, Calabrian chile and watermelon, which tastes as good as it looks.

② Plan a menu.
Once you have a sense of the ingredients you want to incorporate and which dishes you want to make, your menu will flow from one course to the next. Carefully laying out everything ahead of time is the easiest way to plan a cohesive and flawless night.

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Practice ahead of time.
If you’re making a dish you haven’t made before, practice it at least once before the big day. It’s not that we don’t have faith in you—of course, we do—but by practicing a new dish you’re able to make slight adjusts and get a feel for how long it will take to make.

④ Keep the cocktail list simple.
No party is complete without a signature cocktail, but don’t go crazy buying a dozen different types of alcohol. Keep it simple by preparing one or two signature cocktails with familiar spirits, such as rum or gin.

  • Writing a menu out and having name cards on the table takes the guesswork out for guests.

    Photos: Alyssa Ringler

  • A signature cocktail is the perfect way to kick off an evening with friends.

  • Plate everything at once—even if you need to recruit a partygoer to help.

  • Start things off with a light first course, like crudo di tonno with Sun Gold tomatoes, Calabrian chile and watermelon.

  • Make a main that requires only a few finishing touches, like a whole porchetta. While you’re at the market getting all that fresh produce, grab a few flowers for the center of the table.

  • Don’t be afraid to try something other than chicken or beef, like porchetta della casa.

  • Unless the meal is family style, always plate a dish for your guests.

  • Have some fun and get a little fancy with the garnish.

  • If it’s a big gathering, have a trusty team assembled to help you through the night.

  • Go out with a bang, like this olive oil semifreddo with cherries, vincotto, amaretti, salt and pepper croccante and limoncello sorbetto for dessert.

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