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It may seem hard to believe, but summer has officially bid us a fond farewell — and fall is right around the corner! It’s time to start planning for that semi-intimidating, but definitely worthwhile event you’ve been contemplating… A cooking party! 

Having a cooking party doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be a lot of fun! We’ve broken down how to have a cooking party in just 4 simple steps! 

4 Easy Steps to Planning a Cooking Party

4 Steps for Planning Your Cooking Party

Signs of the changing season are evident on the colorful trees, around local farmer’s markets and, most specifically, in our homes.

In addition to the physical changes seen at this time of year, the cooler weather also brings a return to in-home entertainment.

Instead of a typical cocktail party, why not gather your friends and family or host some of your children’s friends for an interactive culinary shindig?

Here’s how you can host an event that will make your warm-weather enthusiasts grateful for the opportunity to hunker down indoors and cook the night away.

4 Easy Steps to Planning a Cooking Party

1. Pre-Party Planning

  • Decide on a date and time for your cooking party and create a menu for your event. This can be based on a theme (recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking), a style of food (Italian, Mexican, etc.) or an ingredient (garlic).
  • Make a shopping list of the ingredients required. Don’t forget to include non-food items you may need such as wooden skewers, re-sealable bags, and toothpicks.
  • Make and print recipe cards for each course or component of the meal being cooked. It is usually easiest to divide the meal into first, main, and dessert courses. If you have more guests than courses that need to be cooked, assign them the task of assembling some hors d’oeuvres.
  • Divide your guests into cooking groups. Be creative and thoughtful in your assignments by placing beginner cooks with those who are more experienced. Split up couples or best friends so everyone has the opportunity to engage with someone new.
4 Easy Steps to Planning a Cooking Party
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2. Day of Cooking Party Planning

  • Set-up cooking stations in your kitchen and dining room. Each station should include the ingredients, bowls, utensils, baking dishes, cutting boards, and knives. Be sure to have one recipe card for each cook as well as a few damp cloths and towels for cleaning up messes and wiping hands.
  • Do any prep work than may need to be done.
  • Marinade meat, cook bacon for crumbling, grate cheese, peel potatoes, make stock, etc.
  • Set the table for the dinner party. Be sure to have a plate and/or bowl for each course being served.

3. Cooking and Eating Fun

  • When your guests arrive, hand everyone his or her recipe cards and show them to their station.
  • When all of the food has been cooked, have teams carry their course to the table.
  • Each team should present their food to the remaining guests.
  • Divide clean-up duties among the crowd making sure everyone assists leaving you with nothing but memories of a fun and delicious evening.

4. More Tips and Suggestions

  • If you don’t have enough supplies ask your guests to bring some with a label.
  • Label with masking tape and markers and return to your guests before they head home.
  • If someone doesn’t want to cook, assign him or her to man the drink station.
  • Offer incentives, like prizes, can be awarded to the guest with the best apron, or the one who is first to drop something on the floor.

Enjoy Your Cooking Party! 

We hope you enjoyed these tips for your next cooking party. The most important thing to remember is to have fun! 

Do you have your own cooking party tips? Leave them in the comment! 

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