Tips & tricks for fellow hosts
With my chef background, it’s probably no surprise that I take pride in serving great meals for anyone who joins me at my table. What I’ve learned as a TastePlease host, however, is that it’s not all about the food. In fact, I think one of my most important host tasks have been to make sure my guests would feel welcome.
Unlike friends and family, my new dinner guests usually don’t know me beforehand, so of course they tend to be a little nervous when they arrive. Honestly, I can’t say that I’m not a little nervous, too, but I do have the home court advantage, after all, so I always make an effort to greet them properly, introduce myself and my co-hosts, ask the first questions to get the conversation flowing… Little things that help all of us to relax and feel comfortable.
One of the tricks that have worked particularly well for me has been to do a short introduction round when all guests have arrived. This way, no one is a stranger to one another anymore, and some topics can even spur further conversation. Maybe some of them work in overlapping fields or come from the same part of town. I’m continuously surprised by how often my guests and I end up having way more in common than we thought!
When I’ve hosted bigger dinners (10+ guests), I’ve also found that having people change seats in between courses can be a great way to talk to everyone at the table – something I really value when hosting dinners for new people. Another way to do this would be a flying dinner, where guests are naturally encouraged to move around, so maybe I will try that on a later occasion.
At the end of the day, my best piece of advice for fellow hosts is to relax, enjoy and try not over complicate things. Basically, make sure to do as much as you can in advance, so you don’t stress around right before it knocks on the door – and when the time comes, accept that you can’t plan your way out of everything, sometimes it’s perfectly ok to just go with the flow and make the best of it!