Good Food Blog
Stress-free dinner partiesPosted at 11:17AM, 16 May 2008 by Graham Holliday - Blogger
It's stressful, it shouldn't be, but it is. I love putting on dinner parties, but I find the blood pressure often rises in parallel with the temperature in the kitchen. Some people make it look so easy, even if they're putting their 'do' on on the London tube. For us regular Joes, it's invariably a bit of a 'mare.
It's the closest most of us get to understanding how it feels to run a restaurant for a night which is possibly why 'dinner clubs', 'pudding clubs' and exclusive 'food and wine events' are increasingly popular. They're like a dinner party, with a wee bit of uncertainty, a smidgen of anarchy, a whole lot of respect for food and wine, but you outsource the stress. All good reasons why I was glad to drop along to the Frontline Club's monthly Food and Wine event in London last month.
I work for the Frontline Club, and so you can take this all with a sack of salt if you want, but if it's stress free dining you want - this is your ticket. Malcolm Gluck selected the wines, talked about them and was very adept at drinking them while our table full of eager foodies valiantly attempted to stretch a range of adjectives beyond their limit in our wine tasting notes.
The outsourced stress was handled by chef John Taylor who rattled off four courses from Evesham Asparagus with poached egg through steamed organic salmon to rhubarb crumble and onto the cheese with a different wine to accompany each course - which on this evening at least - were all French, bar one Kiwi.
At any homespun dinner party, there's invariably one person who spends the entire evening trying desperately to enjoy themselves, often failing...
The food and wine were impeccable, but it was the stress-free environment that sealed the whole deal for me. At any homespun dinner party, there's invariably one person who spends the entire evening trying desperately to enjoy themselves, often failing, sometimes taking it out on the crockery or a medium sized vegetable and that person is of course, the cook.
Unless we're talking a cold meat, salad, blancmange and slab of cheddar cheese affair, there will always be one stressed individual sat at the table nervously nibbling the olives wondering whether the potatoes are boiling over and the chicken is burning. Can it be any other way?