7 Real Chefs Dish on Their Best Summer Entertaining Tips

August 6, 2018 by Holly Verbeck

Oh, the relaxation of long summer days and eating outdoors. The perfect time to show off your hostess skills. But the beach towels and inflatables in the entryway tell me party planning is low on your list of priorities. Fear not – we’ve put together bite-sized tips from 7 of our real chefs to help you throw the best outdoor events of the summer. Take notes.

Keep It Casual

“The #1 thing our clients ask for is ‘light and casual’, and you CAN and should have this experience for you and your guests. You just need to decide if you’re going to do all the work that goes into making a magical ‘light and casual’ night for your guests, or if you’ll let someone else do it for you so that you get to experience ‘light and casual’ WITH them!” – Chef Grog

Double Your Enjoyment

“A perfect day for me is shopping the farmers’ market in the morning and serving a meal to clients with those ingredients that night. The Tahoe-Truckee area has multiple farmers’ markets. Tuesday and Sunday in Truckee, and Thursday in Tahoe City are my favorites. I love spending my morning roaming the markets for the freshest ingredients while planning the evening’s menu, then heading to my client’s home to prepare a meal they’ll savour that evening. The best ingredients are the secret, and the farmers market ensures a great summer day from morning to night.” – Chef Brian

Don’t Let Your Guests Help

“When I throw my own parties at home I always make sure NOT to clean up. As soon as I start clearing a plate or washing dishes I’ve left the conversation, and my guests get the unintentional signal that it’s time to wrap up the night. So I make sure to stay at the table and be a guest at my own party. My favorite part of a dinner party is after the meal when the long, lingering conversations carry late into the evening. So leave the dishes and enjoy the party.” – Chef Abby

Lean on a Foolproof Recipe

“Testing a new recipe on a large group of guests isn’t something I recommend. To make the night a guaranteed success, I only prepare dishes I’m sure are crowd-pleasers and only after I’ve prepared them so many times that they have my ‘signature’ on them. When I have friends over I want to be able to hold a conversation with them even if I’m cooking, and I don’t want to spend my night in the kitchen so I plan a menu that let’s me get out of the kitchen quickly once they arrive.” – Chef Michael

Go Overboard

“You only live once, and for me, time with my friends is the most important. With so few summer Saturdays (my kids have 9 weeks’ break from school) people must make tough choices about how to squeeze in all their fun summer options into their already-tight family calendar. So when my friends choose to RSVP to one of my parties I try to do something special above and beyond the menu. It might be a specialty cocktail, a fabulous dessert, unusual décor or music– because I know they turned down another invitation to be with me, and I want to show them I really care by putting on a delicious and effortless party.“ – Chef Johnny

Check Your Stock Ahead of Time

“I can’t stress this enough: If you’re barbecuing or having a fire, make sure to check your grill and wood pile. The worst thing to find out in the middle of the party is that you ran out of something essential like propane, s’mores or your guests’ favorite mixer. A day or two before your party, check your supplies and buy anything that needs replenishing.” – Chef Josh

Create a Bug-Free Zone

“Nothing ruins an outdoor party more than having to dodge wasps to get a bite of the food on your plate. And boy do I dislike mosquitos! Since I don’t like repellents on my skin and traps take away from my table settings the best way I’ve found to really keep pesky critters from bothering me and my guests during an alfresco meal is to set up fans to blow a gentle breeze around us. What a lovely way to keep things cool on a hot day!” – Not-a-Chef Holly (HeyChef! founder)

And Always Remember…

“Your memories of summer are as important as those you’re creating for loved ones. You can have ‘light and casual’, bug-free, flawless entertaining without all the work. With one phone call we’ll take all the time-consuming errands, tasks, cooking and clean-up off your to-do list and put them on ours. We an send you a single server to tend to your evening, a bartender or a whole team and private chef. We’re here to help you make memories in your home without all the work, and we invite you to call us so you can experience the joys of Tahoe WITH your loved ones.” – Not-a-Chef Holly (HeyChef! founder)

Relax and Enjoy. We are professional, polished, and discreet.