The entirety of Jennifer Brian Events has always been about building relationships. While the success of our events is certainly about meticulous planning, when the big day arrives, it isn’t necessarily about having someone driving, but about having everyone going in the same direction. I have the amazing fortune to be surrounded with professionals that are passionate, professional, and true experts in their respective fields. They constantly push my own creative boundaries and truly help make my vision more with all of them a part of the team.
Some of those professional relationships are more than 20 years old. They become more like friends and family at that point. It makes working events with them like a homecoming. My appreciation and admiration for their talent sometimes lead to dinner at my house for a heartfelt thanks.
This particular evening was a casual summer dinner for a chef friend of mine. I have a few treasured friends that are chefs and I love to cook for them. I have friends that look at me like I have grown two heads when I tell them I am cooking for a chef.
“But, but, but you’re COOKING? For CHEF? Aren’t you scared to cook for a chef?” The answer is always a resounding, “Absolutely not!”
Cooking is, and always will be, a language of love for me. It is the physical manifestation of appreciation, nurturing, personal history, culture, communion, and community. Chefs are professionals at that. They cook sometimes 7 days a week, hundreds and hundreds of plates a service. To have someone plan a menu with thought for only them, to insist that they sit and be served while good wine is poured is just a home run. I could serve scrambled eggs and toast and they would be so appreciative that they haven’t had to plan/prep/and cook it. They are my easiest guests. Every time.
The planning and execution of any special meal is my happy place. I could menu plan for relaxation the way some folks work a crossword puzzle- and often do. It can be as involved, or simple as you like. My event began the week before with perusing cookbooks and pulling potential dishes. I decided on a simple summer menu that could be done as much in advance as possible.
Simple Summer Menu
Summer Salad with Watermelon, Local Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, Basil Vinaigrette
Grilled Local Sirloin with Chimichurri Marinade, Vidalia Onion Gratin
Oven Roasted Local Peaches, Vanilla Ice Cream, Bourbon Caramel Sauce
A good bar is essential to any gathering at our house and it was set for bourbon cocktails and beer and wine. Setting it up for self serve is a sure way to have guests involved and relaxed. We ate and drank and visited on the porch long into the night and it was a pretty fantastic (and long overdue) evening all around.
Here is the foolproof plan for your own special meal:
As much of the planning you can do ahead makes for an easy event the day of. Organization is your friend.
~Simplify Your Menu~
Summer is the best time for gorgeous local food. Use as much of it as you can and let the food show itself. Complicated sauces and reductions are great for the winter when you need something to help the sad veggies along. Let the summer food showcase itself.
~Do Ahead as Much as Possible~
Prep as much a you can before guests arrive. Ideally proteins should just be fired at the last minute. Everything else that can be made ahead should be. No one wants to be scrambling when it’s time to sit and have a cocktail and visit.
~Set a Pretty Table~
Pretty tables make any event special. Cut some greenery out of the yard, pull out some candles and pour some wine in your best glasses. It will help dress up anything.
~Relax and Enjoy~
No one is worried if you aren’t. Side dish taking longer than you thought? No worries. They are there for the company. Employ your guests as you need to for your casual affairs to pour water in glasses or fill bread baskets. I have found they are glad to help and feel more invested when they are assisting. Enjoying your guests is an essential part of any successful event. Make the most of your time together.
Want to host your own event? Let JBE help take the stress out of the evening for you. Contact us for more information.