Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Ricardo

RICARDO'S Entertaining Tips

I had the pleasure of spending a great couple of hours on a lovely sunny day in an office overlooking the Lake with the amazing Chef and Entrepreneur Ricardo Larivee a well known TV personality from Quebec.  A select few food bloggers, writers, food industry people were invited to chat with Ricardo about Holiday Entertaining in an informal sit down chat.  Ricardo was there to answer any questions we had and also discuss some of his tips and tricks and where he wants to go in the future.  He said he would like to be "the Celine Dion of food" meaning he wants to be a Canadian representative for food around the world.  Kind of a cool thing to aspire to.  He also wants to share the knowledge and collaborate with people like all of us bloggers to move toward the future and be ahead of the curve of where food is going and also the media industry with his magazine Ricardo, his online website and his products and any future TV or other kind of media.
Who knows what's next but he wants to know and wants to be ready for it.

We enjoyed a lovely spread of food that is featured in the Holiday edition of the Ricardo magazine. Appetizers that your guests can enjoy as the arrive at your party.  They could also be the kinds of things for drop in guests.

Some of the things we sampled were:

  • Local Quebec cheese and cracker platters
  • Fresh mixed crudite with from scratch mayonnaise
  • A Pecan crusted cheese ball
  • General Tao mini sausages
  • Chocolate covered apricots and almonds
  • Wine cocktail

I always struggle to with hosting parties even though my friends think it's easy for me.
I asked Ricardo what to do about guests that don't show up on time and have multiple food restrictions.  He said "I don't know I don't have friends like that".  Actually he said that he can get pretty tough on the start of his parties and how long he keeps the food out.

Some of Ricardo's tips for entertaining:
  1. Have food that people can nibble on and serve themselves when they arrive at the party.
  2. Only give people about a half an hour to arrive before you start serving the main dishes.
  3. Don't put out all of the food at the same time.  Start with the nibbles and then remove them after an hour and put out the next course.  
  4. Never leave a course out for more than an hour.  It's best for food safety and also for clean up and keeping the party moving.
  5. Serve them wine or have some pre mixed drinks that they can serve themselves but limit it and make sure they have food before they start drinking.
  6. If you know they are going to bring you wine ask them to bring specific wines that you want that will go with the food you are serving at the party.  
  7. If they have so many restrictions you might suggest that they bring something that will be safe for them.
  8. You decide on what you want to serve and you don't have to cater to everyone but he also takes notes on what people like and don't like and makes changes the following years.
  9. He generally invites the same people so he knows what they like.
  10. Put the food away after each course is done but let your guests know that there is some in the fridge if they would like some more.
  11. Don't make too many things.  
  12. Keep it simple.
  13. Think about the kinds of appliances that you are going to need to make all the food.  
  14. Use crockpots to keep things warm or free up on appliances.
  15. Make as much stuff in advance as you can and you can freeze or make ahead a lot of the food.
  16. Ricardo heats his plates in the oven to keep the food warm longer.
  17. If you can't find unsalted pistachio's you can rinse salted ones and then roast in the oven to dry them out.  He recommends toasting all nights to bring out the flavours.
  18. He doesn't do the dishes until after the party so that he can spend more time with guests.
  19. He believes that the one job the guests have is to entertain themselves and bring the party.
  20. He makes sure he has everything ready so that he can greet his guests and they can make themselves at home when he is greeting other guests.

I must say that I have tried to do a lot of these things but I am going to try a few other of his tips.  My challenge is that I have a small kitchen and no dishwasher so there is only so much space for the dishes but if I host a party this year I am going to consider some of these tips and make a few adjustments.  

I hope some of these tips help you enjoy your holiday gatherings with your friends and family.
Ricardo and I wish you a very happy holiday entertaining season.

Ricardo and me

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