The Edit / Dinner Party Ideas And Tips For Success - Part 2


Dinner Party Ideas And Tips For Success - Part 2

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Written By Emmy OLeary

Last Updated January 2022

Dinner Party Ideas

This is part two of our series on what makes a great dinner party. View part one here.

In this article, we interviewed Carla Lalli and Andrea Hernández to answer our pressing dinner party questions.

Interviewing Carla Lalli


Carla Lalli Music is a chef, cookbook author, and former food editor at large of Bon Appétit. She recently released her latest cookbook That Sounds so Good

What’s an easy appetizer to make?

“I encourage people to get away from the cheese board. It’s so easy and fun, but it can be really filling. I love making this old school French radish dish. All you need are fresh radishes with good quality butter at room temperature and flaky salt. Drag the radish through butter and then put a little salt on.”


What’s an easy dinner recipe to make?

“Slow roasted fish: Use a fattier fish like salmon or cod because they hold up and don’t dry out. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Cover it with a generous amount of olive oil and cook it at 275 for half an hour. It’s a very gentle and forgiving method for cooking. When the fish comes out of the oven, put lots of lemon on it and break it into pieces to serve.”

Carla’s Key Ingredients for Dinner Party Success

“Think about the people that you’re bringing together. And it’s always good to have like one or two wildcards. Bringing in a new person, who everyone doesn’t already know, can change the energy and open things up a bit more.”


Carla’s Hosting Tips

“Be well rested and relaxed because you set the tone. You don’t want to overextend yourself and be super stressed when the doorbell rings. Remembering that the reason you’re hosting is for community and bringing people together. It’s not about showing off how good of a cook you are or how big your house is. As a guest, the best thing is to get that feeling of generosity from the host. You don’t need to spend a lot of money and put caviar on the table. Creating those feelings of giving & generosity make people so happy.”

Interviewing Andrea Hernández


Andrea Hernández is the founder of Snaxshot. Andrea aka “the snax oracle” predicts and deconstructs trends in food & bev. If you want to stay ahead of the food&bev curve, we highly recommend subscribing to Andrea’s newsletter.

What food & bev brands are great for a dinner party?


  • For those who don’t drink…. Three Spirit Drinks has bottles that pair well with beginning to end of a party, Elixir, Livener and then Nightcap. 
  • For the RTD cocktail…  Straightaway cocktail spritz has an amazing, diverse lineup so there would be a drink for everyone. 
  • For the budding mixologist…Steep’d are tea-like bags that create a cocktail when paired with alcohol.
  • For the person who likes to play with their food… Smith & Sinclair alcoholic gummies and lollipop dippers for drinks are a genius way to upgrade a simple cocktail or bubbly glass.


  • For the dip lover… Credo Spreads are very cool looking plant based spreads that you don’t necessarily have to serve on a different dish 
  • For the olive lover… Send Olive makes beautiful different marinades that are custom
  • For elevated snacks & serving plates… Dada snacks and plateware are elevating by themselves, think surrealist Martha Stewart vibes. I’d also use their serving board and their bowls.

That list was amazing. So what are your personal favorites to have at a dinner party?

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What are the key ingredients for dinner party success?

  • Snacks!
  • Options for drinkers and non-drinkers.  
  • An excellent playlist. Check out Alex Delaney on Spotify because he curates amazing playlists for good ambience
  • Mix of people. Make sure it’s a mix of people to make it interesting, spice up your friend group!
  • Medium-small environment. I prefer this because I think it’s great to have more intimate moments.
  • Sexy lighting. Dim the lights or light a candle.
  • Copious amounts of napkins. Things can get messy so let people have options to clean up because then it just gets awkward. 
  • Serendipity, but lead the way. It’s like being a chef, you’ve got all the ingredients and you know how to mix them to get something good simmering.

How do you overcome the beginning of a dinner party where it may feel a little awkward?

“This is why I suggested Three Spirit Drinks because they have an elixir that was crafted specifically to help you loosen up for the beginning of a gathering. Also don’t overthink it. Whenever I attend a dinner party, there’s a good chance that I haven’t met many of the people because it’s a mix of friends. The best way to not overthink and get back to the present moment is taking a DEEP BREATH or … a shot?

If all else fails the best thing you can do is have a snack. No one can blame you for being “antisocial” if your mouth is full.”

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Final Hosting Tips

Be intentional about it because it takes a lot of energy to plan and host. Make sure you do all the hacks. You can save prep time by using stuff like Savorly, frozen cocktail bites that you pop into the oven to bake. Most importantly, have fun because that’s what it’s all about.