What are You Doing This New Years Eve? Tips on How to Plan a Fabulous Party!
Patricia Mendez, author of Easy Entertaining for Beginners, offers tips on how to throw a great party - from a holiday fiesta to a romantic evening for two!
CommitmentNow.com: Easy Entertaining for Beginners: You Can Throw a Fabulous Party, from Holiday Fiesta to a Romantic Evening for Two is a helpful guide for those of us who are new to entertaining. What inspired you to write this book?
Patricia Mendez: Thank you for having me. I have catered and coordinated special events in the Los Angeles area since the early 1990’s and have taught cooking classes as well. People have told me over and over that they would love to learn how to throw dinner parties and host casual at-home entertaining for family and friends, but are intimidated with the idea of where to start. The landslide of available information can be a bit overwhelming for the novice host, so I designed and wrote my book to help beginners gain confidence and be successful with their first hosting experiences.
I believe that at-home entertaining adds quality to life! Lots of people have all kinds of real, complicated problems in their lives. Receiving an invitation to a dinner party is something most people look forward to. It gives them a break from everyday worries and responsibilities. You truly reach a different level of intimacy with friends you invite into your home for a relaxed evening versus meeting each other exclusively at noisy and expensive restaurants. Extending your hospitality by hosting at-home entertaining is a gift you give to others. It is a fantastic way to connect with those near and dear.
CommitmentNow.com: What are the first steps to take when planning an event?
1. Think about the number of guests and who you would like to invite. Keep in mind the size of your space so everyone can be comfortable.
2. Decide your menu. Choose easy recipes that you can mostly make in advance. If you have a dish you prepare well, incorporate that in your menu. Fill in with a few purchased items, such as fresh rolls or a delicious dessert from a favorite bakery.
3. Choose your location. Will the party be in your backyard, dining room or in the family room by the fireplace?
4. Consider your budget. If you are on a tight budget host a themed potluck, such as “An Evening in Tuscany” or a “Family Fiesta”. Have guests bring a dish that corresponds with your theme.
5. Organization is the key to a successful dinner party. Read through the recipes and make a shopping list. Pace yourself by cleaning the house and doing the grocery shopping 1-2 days in advance. Prepare 1 or 2 of the recipes the day before your event. The biggest mistake a novice host can make is to try to do everything on the day of the dinner party.
CommitmentNow.com: How can a novice entertainer prevent herself from getting overwhelmed in the process?
Patricia: Do a few things and do those well. Concentrate on the food, the table and the relaxed, friendly tone you set as host. Don’t get caught up with intricate invitations, complicated menus and extensive decorating.
I have many more practical tips in my book to help readers gain confidence and skills. In each chapter I have step-by-step checklists that will help ensure that everything is prepared on time. The recipes were written with beginners in mind with special sections on “Mistakes to Avoid” and “Tips to Ensure Success”. If the host is on time, he or she will be more relaxed and will immediately put their guests at ease and set a great tone for the dinner party.
Last but not least, hosts should not take any mistakes they might make too seriously. Even the most seasoned hosts sometimes make mistakes. The ability to solve them and move on is a plus.
Have fun! It would be a shame if everyone enjoyed your party but you. Add your own style and flavor to your entertaining. Your guests will enjoy this most of all.
Patricia Mendez is the author of EASY ENTERTAINING FOR BEGINNERS (ISBN: 978-0-9799564-0-9), a multiple award winner including 2009 Silver Recipient Mom’s Choice Award. She has catered and coordinated special events in the Los Angeles area since the early 1990’s. She has taught “Easy Entertaining for Beginners” cooking classes for novice hosts/hostesses in Torrance, CA.
She is a public speaker and writes articles for print magazines, newspapers and internet sites. She has made appearances as a guest chef for Community Cooking Torrance cable show and is the Easy Entertaining Spokesperson for Lifetime Products, Inc. www.LifetimeProducts.com
Patricia is serving on the panel of judges for the 2010 Mom’s Choice Awards.
Patricia is a member of the IBPA – Independent Book Publisher Association and PALA – The Publisher Association of Los Angeles.
To purchase Easy Entertaining for Beginners, click here.
Visit Patricia at www.ezentertaining.net.