The Perils of Inviting a Chef to a Dinner Party

outdoor dinner event

It’s an odd concept. The notion of inviting a chef to a dinner party. Quite perilous as well, it’s a bit like inviting a trained dancer over to watch you awkwardly two-step. There are so many ways things could go wrong. Maybe you cut your potatoes weird? Maybe they’ll think you undercooked the chicken (even though you followed that Pinterest recipe to the letter!). Can they tell the difference between canned corn and shucked corn? Will they care?

Most people avoid these perplexing questions by not inviting a chef over to a dinner party at all. This idea wouldn’t leave me alone, and I happen to work with a number of chefs, so I asked them: should you invite a chef to a dinner party? And if so, why? I found their answers surprising.

The overwhelming answer? YES.Invite them! Why? Our chef Doug was quick to share, “We love food! It’s why we do this for a living. Worst case scenario I’ll bring something so win-win!” His advice: Work in your comfort zone, make something you are comfortable making, and don’t try to impress.

Our chef instructor Logan echoed his sentiment, “It’s all about hospitality and the hearth. You’re inviting me over, I’m not going to be critical.” His advice: Keep it simple.

“We’re just like everyone else” Chef instructor Chris mentioned as he started his day. “It’s communal dining.” His advice: Don’t overthink it.

I turned to the heads of our culinary team Eric and Sarah. They are the most straightforward people I know. Surely they’d tell me to not invite a chef? They pointed out that most chefs appreciate having someone cook for them, after being on their feet cooking all day. That thought had never occurred to me. Eric’s advice: Have fun with it. Sarah’s advice: Don’t always follow the recipe on the box.

I clutched my pearls. As a fledgling home chef I ALWAYS follow the recipe on the box. After contemplating her advice I realized she didn’t mean ignore the recipe, she meant give yourself wiggle room. Taste it. Do you think it needs more olive oil? Go for it. More pepper? Get cracking.

The consensus? Invite a chef to a dinner party.

You’re still a bit nervous about the prospect, I can tell. Well I can’t give you confidence but I can give you some tools. Check out these upcoming events that would be perfect for upping your cooking game. Knife Skills, Master the Skillet, and Chef’s Table. Each of these events will leave you more confident in your skills than before. And then maybe, just maybe, you might invite a chef over. Let them bring the wine for a change.

Image courtesy of Lee Myungseong on Unsplash


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