Fine dining is a luxury to be savored! But it is not always necessary to go to a smart restaurant. Indeed with a little help, it is quite simple to replicate it in your own home without sleepless nights and getting so stressed you can’t think straight! Follow these 5 basic principles and amaze not only your guests but yourself as well.
1. Strategic planning
Planning carefully is the absolute key to it all, constructive planning, not endless ideas that might work. Be really focused and you can’t go far wrong, after all as they say ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail!’ Not something that would be risked by one of our top dining establishments, nor by you, if you follow all our advice.
2. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity
Keep everything as simple as possible so that guests arrive to a calm and sophisticated ambience, like walking into a top restaurant.
This is especially important as it is so easy when you are trying to impress, to go into overdrive and overcomplicate everything. Take the simple matter of the guest list, you are looking for people who will get along and be able to keep the conversation going even when you are in the kitchen. You are aiming for a friendly and relaxed atmosphere not showing off, so don’t just go for the most important people you can think of, invite those who will impress far more by their charm and conviviality!
3. Watertight organisation
Good organisation will give you the confidence to be the perfect host by having everything under control well in advance so that on the evening you can concentrate on your guests without a last minute panic.
Be really well organised, like a military operation not just have a vague idea of things and hope for the best. That’s the best way to end up with the worst. Lists and timetables drawn up well ahead will keep you on the right track and you will even have time for a 15 minute sit down before the doorbell rings. Things often take longer than you think – setting the table for example, this cannot be done in the last half hour before the guests appear. You would never arrive at the restaurant to find staff still ironing the table cloths or polishing the glasses, so don’t let it happen at home either.
4. No risk taking
High end restaurants never experiment on the spur of the moment, and the same applies when creating fine dining at home. Ensure everything, from start to finish is tried and tested.
Top chefs spend time perfecting the menu, adjusting flavour combinations and improving presentation until they are completely satisfied. It is the same in your kitchen, now is not the time to experiment with bizarre ingredients with no thought for how the dish will look when placed in front of your guests. Try and test everything beforehand to make sure it works.
5. A holistic approach
Restaurant dining is about the whole experience from the minute guests enter, to the minute they leave. It goes beyond the food and drink to ensure complete comfort and pleasure throughout, and your visitors deserve the same respect.
Take care with how you take and look after the coats, how comfortable they feel before, during and after the meal, how well the table is set, how clean and tidy the reception rooms are, not forgetting that the bathroom should be spotless with soft fluffy towels and free from embarrassing personal toiletries. Picture the restrooms in smart restaurants, these often impress as much as anything, strange though that might seem!
There will be regular postings on this blog to build up a comprehensive guide on how to achieve fine dining at your table. Follow the advice and be the envy of all your guests as they relax and enjoy a restaurant experience in your home.