Christine Cushing is part chef, part artisan, part business woman who meshes her personal experience of life with her love of food. As the host of Fearless in the Kitchen, her move from media personality to merchandiser hasn’t been without it’s bumps but it is a gratifying ride that has netted products on the store shelves that she is proud of. Her goal has been to make life easier for home cooks and says that her market is targeted at those who would create from scratch if they had the time.
Cushing shares some of her tips on how to become the perfect host without losing your sanity. With her tips, any host would be be inclined to gather friends together more often to enjoy food and each other, which is what life is all about. Coupled with tips from Canada’s resident beverage expert Dee Brun aka Cocktail Deeva perfect, stress free cocktail parties are never too hard to organize.
Keep it simple
Impress with simplicity, not overly complex preparation. Start with good quality, fresh seasonal ingredients but keep the process simple. In season, colourful radishes only need to be washed and sliced and make their own statement on the plate. Purchase a unique and creative dip and empty it into a complimentary dish and serve both together with an aperitif.
Include a do-it-yourself station
Purchase some ‘helper’ ingredients like Cushing’s new roasted red peppers, good quality feta , olives with bread and cracker to create a bountiful display where people can customize their own plate. Gone are the days of fussing with roll ups and toothpicks just to prove you made an effort. Fine ingredients speak for themselves.
Include variety to keep guests intrigued and satisfied
Avoid using too much of the same ingredient. A great cocktail party features a variety of textures and tastes using vegetables as well as meats and cheeses. It’s also best to feature both hot and cold options. Search out a few new charcuterie items at an organic butcher, game meats are big and add a sophisticated flair.
Prep as much as you can in advance
Do all shopping the day before the party, except for last minute /fresh items like bread or delicate greens. Wash, chop and prepare any component of dishes the day before, which leaves you more time to just pull together the final touches the day of.
Choose a signature cocktail
Have one signature cocktail for when guests arrive. After that, serve only wine and beer. Don’t try to please everyone with their favourite beverage. Don’t forget to have fabulous non alcoholic options as well. Set a special table up for people to serve themselves and dress it up with a theme to set the tone for your guests to enjoy.