It can be quite stressful being the host over the holidays as skilled and fabulous as we all like to think we are, there is a lot of pressure on all of us to create the perfect vibe.  So here is a little help should you need!

The perfect playlist

Edith Piaf, a bit of Nina Simone, Fats Waller maybe, some chill out lounge? Work on a playlist before hand to put your guests at ease. Having good background tunes is essential to creating a fabulous atmosphere.

Restrain the scent on the dining table

I tend not to have any scented candles on the main dining table as it can over power the food. Although I do plop little t-light holders full of herbs that actually enhance the food like little bunches of rosemary or thyme to enhance my beef.

Make the menu simple

I know we all want to impress with our dishes but I always go simple with top quality produce, so as much as I would love to say to serve you guys some oysters which I’ve personally wadded into the muddy waters of Mersea Island to grab, there is nothing hip or romantic about giving yourself too much work. Talking of which if you are ever in Essex then you have to go The Company Shed, all my family are fans (I’ve never been but its on my wish list).  It’s as famous among foodies as say Maltby or the Ivy. Basically a wooden shed where you take your own wine, bread butter and any other bits like mayo and then you eat some truly amazing seafood.

You can’t book its super sparse and utilitarian and its been going for 25 years.  Started by Heather Hawward wife of Richard who is known as one of the worlds greatest oyster farmers! And there are massive ques but I’m digressing back to the tips!

Add a flourish

I wrap my napkins in sari ribbon and or simply tie with string and then thread a sprig of rosemary through! Nice

Use roofing slate as platters

Something our fabulous catering company does regularly when catering for design classes. That is use huge great slabs of roofing slate at only a couple of quid per slate and they look fabulous housing cheeses, salads, turkey you name it. As we all know everything looks more fabulous on dark right!

Happy holidays

Tips for the holidays tips