more on planning a dinner party
I love inviting friends over, old and new. When guests include those I do not know very well, I try to invite other people who may have a connection or something in common whether hobbies, interests, school, families.
Depending on the guests, the menu and recipes are planned to make it formal, informal, fun and interactive (like a fondue or hot pot). After which I plan the place settings- what linens, glassware and china to use. Since I love china and glassware, I have a few options but many people may just go for simplicity which is probably the best option.
Types of service
When serving a meal, there are many different ways to get it on the table. I am outlining a few of the most common:
the courses are served by the host or hostess after each plate has been prepared in the kitchen.
empty plates are placed in front of each guest, while the food is put on the table in large platters allowing everyone to serve themselves.
food is placed out on a side board or counter and guests take their plates- from the table or stack near the food, to serve themselves. this form of service was common in Europe and often considered more “lavish” but I am not a big fan for a dinner party unless for very informal occasions- lunches, breakfasts and meals with kids. In the US the buffet concept is definitely something very different.
In Britain, a buffet breakfast is common and considered ideal whereas other meals are served in French or Butler style.
butler service of french service
food is presented by a server (or if you are luck at butler) in a serving platter with serving utensil to each guest, and the guest serves him/herself. the server moves counter-clockwise around the table to each guest with the dish.
similar to the above but the server places the food on each guest’s plate, rather than the guest doing it for him/herself.
serving and removing plates
serve from the left and remove from the right
serve and remove from the right
I have been to a few very formal events where this style is part of the theatrics of the evening. the waiters come out from the kitchen in one single file line, each with one covered dish. the waiters circle around the table, each behind a guest and then on cue place the dish in front of the guest, and then on cue again remove the cover. after which the waiters formally walk in single file back into the kitchen.