Make your Christmas party stand out from the pack with these easy tips and tricks from Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. First thing’s first: Make it a champagne party!
If there’s one man who knows good food and how to make sure your guests have a good time, it’s Iron Chef and star of the Food Network shows Chopped, The Kitchen and Cooks vs Cons, Geoffrey Zakarian. So we checked in with this party guide guru to get his must-do tips for this holiday season.
Set out several types of Champagne
Have one large bucket set up on a table, fill it with ice, and place different bottles standing upright inside it. This gives your guests permission to sample several of them, Zakarian points out. (Who doesn’t want that?) It’s also a great way to give your guests an experience that they’ll remember. At a classic holiday party, they might stick with whatever sip they’re used to ordering without trying anything new. This way, trying a new drink will be a wonderful memory they associate with your gathering.
Even better, since they’ll all be gathering around the table with the bubbly, it encourages them to mingle. Don’t be afraid to invite people from your different groups of friends; this offers them an easy way to strike up a conversation and get to know one another.
Be comfortable from head to toe
When you’re running around getting drinks and food ready for your guests in addition to entertaining and mingling like a good hostess, it’s important to feel your best! That could mean shedding those stilettos for slippers or ditching the dress in favor of a billowy blouse, or even something as simple as choosing contacts over glasses. Even Zakarian opts for Alcon Dailies Total1 contact lenses instead of his signature glasses when he’s in the kitchen to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of fogged lenses and the glasses slipping down his nose from the heat.
Bake and package something small for them to take home
Everyone’s schedule is packed during the holidays with house walks and Christmas parties, so how do you make sure they remember yours? Send them home with a little something sweet you made by hand, says Zakarian. Mini loaf cakes in a range of flavors–from banana bread to chocolate chip–are sure to be a hit. In fact, Zakarian himself does this at his New York-based restaurant, The Lamb’s Club. Tie the wrap with a pretty piece of ribbon, and watch your guests’ jaws drop as you pass them out as everyone’s headed out the door.
Want more tips and a beyond easy recipe for a festive flatbread that will have your guests begging for seconds? Watch below as Zakarian walks us through a holiday setup, shares his secret flatbread recipe, and shows us the proper way to open Champagne (yes, we’ve all been doing it wrong this whole time).