How to Throw a Cooking Party

Cooking Party Ideas

If you have a reasonably large kitchen you can host a cooking party right at home. But if you're somewhat space challenged or your kitchen is in need of major renovations, host it at a local cooking school or restaurant (which will cost more, but will also save precious clean-up time). Some companies will bring the party to you, and others will host it at their facility. A few companies will set up a cooking demonstration in your kitchen with the goal of selling cooking equipment to your guests.

If you're planning to run the party, make sure you know how to cook. Your guests are going to expect some guidance as they work their way through the recipes. If you're not much of a cook, consider hiring a professional chef to man the kitchen for you.

Once you've decided on a location, figure out how many people you want to invite. Don't go overboard. Depending on the size of your kitchen, it's better to keep the guest list small (six to eight people) so that everyone has room to cook, and there's enough space in the oven for everyone's dish. If you're having the cooking party at a restaurant, you can have 20 or more people, but you still don't want so many guests that you don't have time to spend with them all.

Next, figure out what you'd like to cook. A good guide is one entire meal -- an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert. Choose recipes that are relatively easy to assemble and that you know you can make without the evening ending in disaster (a sunken souffle can really put a damper on a cooking party).

If you're hosting a kids' cooking party, plan a kid-friendly dish that children can customize. Pizza is a perfect choice because kids can roll out the dough and add their own toppings. Cookies that they can bake and decorate themselves make for a great dessert.

Finally, prep your guests. Send them the menu and/or recipes ahead of time, and let them know what to bring, like wine or a particular ingredient.

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