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Timing of Food at a Dinner Party

Q: What should the timing of my food be for a dinner party?

A: Your guests will arrive hungry. If you plan on serving cocktails before dinner, have a few items to nibble on (this is a must if you are serving any form of alcohol). My rule of thumb is cocktails for 30-45 minutes and then straight to the dinner table. If you are using a caterer, you can mingle with your guests during cocktails. If you are solo in the kitchen, assign others to keep the conversation flowing before dinner while you finish last minute preparations. I tell my invited guests when I extend an invitation what they can expect: Cocktails at 7p.m. Dinner at 7:45p.m. Guests do not like surprises. If you told them cocktails at 7p.m. and dinner at 9p.m. (which is too much time in between), they will know they need to eat something at home to hold them over. Create a timeline, inform your guests of this timeline, and stick to this timeline. Disorganization creates grumpy guests.


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