This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
Sometimes, the most luxurious dining happens in the backyard. Sharing a meal together with friends, neighbors or family is always special when it happens at home. Of course as a restaurateur my business is catering to guests out for a celebration of some kind, That being said, there are times when entertaining at home just seems more appropriate.
It’s not about fancy foods or special bottles of wine (although that’s always nice); it's more about creating a relaxing and special environment to share conversation and laughter. To make it easy on yourself, always choose a menu you're comfortable with preparing; this could mean hot dogs with a special mustard or another interesting condiment or it could be a simple fish cooked on your outdoor grill.
Pick a special beverage to serve, whether a unique juice or soda or a fun wine. There are an abundance of great rosés being produced today and they bring an air of festivity to the party without breaking the bank.
Pull out the stops and use a tablecloth, set the table with china and cut a wild flower from the garden for a little extra ambience. Place platters of food on the table to be passed and shared and let the conversation begin.
Just this past week we celebrated my brother Ned’s birthday in my backyard and the fun and laughs we shared had much more to do with the setting and guests at the table than the food we actually served (though that was pretty good too).
Entertaining is always about the guests, so make them feel comfortable and special.