Skip To Content

    Jamie Oliver's Guide To Throwing The Perfect Dinner Party

    Entertaining, the easy way.

    by ,
    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

    I love having my favourite people round for dinner. There's no better feeling than getting all your loved ones together for a slap-up meal, and feeding them well. I know some people find the thought of cooking for a crowd a bit daunting, so here are my ultimate tips on how to throw the laid-back dinner party of the decade.

    Rule number one: It should never be stressful. It's your party and you should have time to enjoy it.

    Rule number two: Anybody who claims you can over-prepare has never hosted a successful dinner party. Planning ahead is your best friend. Remembering this will help you stick to rule number one.

    So, decide on your menu well ahead of time, and don't feel pressure to go overboard – dishes that are outside your comfort zone will cause stress, and if things are done well, people are always just really happy to be cooked for. Keep it simple, fun, delicious, and relaxed.

    Prep as many extra bits and pieces beforehand as you can; for example, have lemon wedges cut up and ready to go, soft herb leaves picked into bowls of ice-cold water for freshness, and things like condiments and seasoning all laid out for guests to use.

    Seasonal ingredients will be at their best and at their cheapest, so hero them and use them as a good excuse to keep things simple. Right now, asparagus is perfect – you can go as simple as just griddling it then drizzling with lemon and good extra virgin olive oil, or you can always go a bit more complex – those super spears will always shine.

    Here's a good guide to seasonal British ingredients:

    Menu planning: go big and impressive

    "Family service" – serving everything on platters, in big dishes, or on big boards – is perfect for a big group of ravenous friends. It encourages everyone to get stuck in, and makes the whole experience more fun and sociable.

    Think trays of dauphinoise potatoes or dishfuls of steamed Jersey Royals, whole baked salmon or sea bass, or a roasted chicken or shoulder of pork with flatbreads or tacos – anything that guests can gather round and help themselves to.

    Keep people entertained and get them involved

    You'll take considerable pressure off yourself if your guests are relaxed and enjoying themselves. Keep hands busy podding piles of fresh peas or shelling pistachios while you finish things off.

    You can go a step further with the pre-meal snacks by rustling up a simple smoked-

    mackerel pâté in advance – guests always go mad for it, and it'll look super classy served alongside a stack of griddled toasts. Or, make it even easier for yourself by leaving out a load of nice loaves on a big board with a toaster, and letting your guests slice and toast their own receptacles!

    So, you've got all the info – now pick a killer menu. Here are some suggestions:

    1.

    Start with some Baked Veggie Samosas

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    Then dish up a Perfect Chicken Balti

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    Served with Incredible Naan Breads.

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    And don't forget the light and fluffy rice.

    2.

    The best bit? This can all be ready in less than one hour.

    Start with the Easiest Sexiest Salad In The World

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    Enjoy Pesto Pasta with Chicken

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    And finish with Summer Panettone Cake.

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    3.

    Start with Vegan Summer Rolls

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    Enjoy Vegan Chinese Noodles

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    And end with Vegan Chocolate Pots.

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    4.

    Start with Smoked Salmon on Toast

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    Then Hit 'n' Run Traybaked Chicken

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    Then tuck into Tarte Tatin.

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    5.

    Start with Incredible Salsa and Guacamole

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the guacamole recipe here.

    Get the salsa recipe here.

    Tuck into Posh Pork Kebabs

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    Mop up with Easy Flatbreads

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    And cool down with Mint Caipirinha Fruit Salad

    Jamie Oliver for BuzzFeed

    Get the recipe here.

    And try to remember these general tips & tricks:

    If it's a hot dish, I won't serve it on anything other than warm plates – there's nothing worse than food that's meant to be hot getting cold by the time it reaches somebody's mouth. A few minutes in a warm oven will do the trick.

    In terms of setting your table – make it look nice, but again, go simple. A few jam jars of

    flowers and the odd candle here and there to set the scene is cute.

    Flavoured waters are far more exciting than a jug of plain old tap water, and super easy. Just throw slices of citrus fruit, strawberries, fresh mint leaves, cucumber ribbons or pieces of ginger, or a combo of course, into a big jug, add a handful of ice and top up with water.

    The most important tip for your guests' peace of mind – don't try to discreetly clean up before it's all over. As the host, people will look to you to set the tone throughout the night, and if you're bustling about, they'll feel they should be helping.

    Remember: if you're relaxed, they will be too.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form