Red Carpet-Worthy Tips for Hosting Your Oscar Party
Photo: jin chu ferrer/Getty Images
Host an award-winning Oscar party with entertaining tips from celeb chefs, plus a tasty recipe.
Sunday, Feb. 24 marks the 91st Academy Awards and, while some of you may watch snuggled up in your slippers and PJs, some of you may decide this is the perfect time to host close friends and family while eating some of your favourite foods.
And we’re here to make sure that all goes well for you.
We’ve asked a few entertaining experts for their advice and we have a few tips of our own. Before you read our advice, chef Ricardo Larrivée shares the most critical of all: “You have to remember one thing – food is not the most important thing when you entertain. It’s the people you have invited. The food is there, and it’s an excuse. The dinner brings together the people you love. We have to remember this and it will relieve some pressure.”
1. Keep it social
Before we get to the food, let’s first make it about the environment. Some great advice Oliver and Bonacini’s Natalie Ho gave us last year was to try something interactive. “Have a chalkboard wall in your house or some sort of backdrop where your guests can take photos,” she said.
Given that it is the Oscars you’re celebrating, get your guests predictions on the board and draw a prize for the closest guess. The prize can be something simple like your guacamole recipe.
If you happen to have extra time on your hands, make your own Academy Awards scorecards for guests to use throughout the show.
2. Keep it real
The red carpet might be a tad stuffy, but you don’t have to be. Even Masterchef Canada judge Michael Bonacini keeps it low key when it comes to entertaining.
“It’s family-style, it’s casual, it’s unpretentious because a lot of people will think, ‘Oh jeeze, I’m going to Michael Bonacini’s. It’s going to be a six-course gourmet tasting menu. Nuh huh. That’s not how I roll. It’s wholesome, hearty – but it’s nothing fancy. Something that represents who I am, what I like to eat and the flavours that inspire me. And I think you have to do that when you’re entertaining.”
3. Plan ahead
Larrivée says, “This may seem obvious, but you have to prepare yourself before hand. You have to create a menu where you can freeze some of it ahead of time.”
Prep, prep, prep! And plan thoughtfully: “Your story is going to be more important than the roast. So I try to – because I know myself – I’ll to have something that I can forget about. And if I talk to you 15 minutes longer, I am not going to ruin the dinner.” Chop your veggies, make your sauce – do as much as you can the day before so that you can enjoy your company.
4. Stay sweet
Larrivée loves a dessert table, and we don’t disagree. “I love to do a sweet table. At the end in the kitchen somewhere, my wife takes the time to put all of the cake stands and desserts on the table.” This gives your guests a chance to choose exactly what satisfies their sweet tooth.
5. Goodie bags are never a bad thing
Goodie bags are not reserved for kiddies. Who doesn’t love a takeaway? Last year, Ho suggested a bag of popcorn but not just any popcorn – “Next level-type popcorn. It’s a neutral flavour and gluten-free. A siracha popcorn. You can do dill pickle, you can do seaweed and honey. There are so many interesting combinations.”