6 Things You Should Never Do When Hosting People in Your Kitchen
Avoid these mistakes for a gathering both you and your guests will enjoy.
"Many people believe the kitchen is the heart of the home. While this may be true, sometimes there's simply not enough space to house all the food, desserts, and guests in one congested area," say Renee Hundley and Kim Pewsey, owners of the Ventura, California-based interior design studio Dream Nest Homes. With that in mind, we consulted a bevy of home and etiquette experts to find out the biggest mistakes you're making when hosting people in your kitchen. Keep reading for their tips on what you should never do, so you and your guests can enjoy good food, good wine, and good company.
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Prep the meal in front of guests.
You'll want to make sure you do as much prep as possible in the kitchen ahead of time, so you can be present for your guests when they arrive.
"When the host is busy with logistics of preparing and serving the meal, your guests may feel slighted by not having enough time to catch up with you," says Meredith Corning, executive event planner at Meredith Events.
"You should never be actively cooking while guests are arriving," add Hundley and Pewsey. "The smell of baking desserts is acceptable, but no one wants to walk into an overwhelming waft of pungent food."
Ignore dietary restrictions.
It's key to get everyone's dietary restrictions or allergies ahead of time and to always have non-alcoholic beverages available, says Melony Huber, an interior design stylist and co-founder of La Peony, an ethical lifestyle collection.
Corning suggests adding this as a question when you send out invites. "This will ensure that you can accommodate gluten intolerances, vegans or vegetarians, or any myriad of other diet requirements your guests may have."
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Assume guests can entertain themselves.
Your guests are at your home to spend time with you. If you plan on being busy while hosting, make sure you have ways to keep your guests entertained.
"Set up board games or yard games if weather permits. Have music playing," says Corning. "These types of activities will ensure that everyone leaves feeling happy about the memories created."
And above all, have a good time yourself. "This is the most important thing, as it will reflect on your mood and enthusiasm, and influence how your guests feel," explains Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of Arsight, an interior design studio based in New York City.
The aesthetic and interior design of your kitchen is also key when entertaining your guests.
"Some common interior design mistakes are overcrowding the countertops with decorative or functional items. [This] can also impact the comfort and convenience of your guests, and create barriers for communication and interaction," says Kropovinsky.
"If your space is tight, then creating an assembly line of food will move guests in and out quickly. Start the assembly line with the basic needs of serving: plates, silverware, and napkins," suggest Hundley and Pewsey.
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Even though you're hosting in your kitchen, you'll still want to give all of your guests the option to have a comfortable place to sit. Consider bringing in additional bar stools for the counter or folding chairs for the table.
And if seating space in the kitchen itself is limited, Hundley and Pewsey suggest adding tables and chairs just off the kitchen, whether that's inside or outside.
Fail to delegate.
Just because you're the host, doesn't mean you have to do it all. The next time a guest asks what they can bring, don't say "just yourself" out of politeness; tell them what you need.
"Never try to do everything by yourself when hosting people in your kitchen," warns Huber. "Trying to cook everything from scratch while simultaneously hosting and entertaining guests can lead to a stressful and overwhelming experience."
Delegate tasks to guests, such as having them bring a dish or allowing them to help you with the cleanup. Most people will be happy you asked!