Sam Talbot on Hosting a Stress-Free Holiday Party

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
13 PHOTOS
Sam Talbot on Hosting a Stress-Free Holiday Party
See Gallery
Sam Talbot on Hosting a Stress-Free Holiday Party

Planning a holiday party can be stressful, so we turned to chef Sam Talbot, a fan favorite from Bravo's "Top Chef", to share his best entertaining tips. Discover how he plans the menu, what hors d'oeuvres are great served at room temperature and his ingenious trick to maximize fridge space.

Image Credit: Getty Images

There are many factors that can stress out a party host. For example, those living in small spaces may have limited kitchen space or only have one stove. "I like to keep things moving," says Sam. "It’s not like you have a huge prep kitchen with multiple things going. Right when that first influx of guests come over, I like to keep just a lot of room temperature hors d'oeuvres flowing. [That way people aren't] waiting for me to heat up 16 dishes and put them out."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Sam suggests putting out vegetables like "beautifully roasted broccoli or brussels sprouts on the stalk," which "can sit out for five to six hours at room temperature and be just as good as when you put them."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Sam uses a variety of serving vessels instead of just regular plates for beautiful presentation. "I love serving some roasted vegetables on a nice big block of Himalayan salt block or some vintage thrift shop find [like] old trays that your grandmother’s grandmother might have had years ago," he says.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Sam notes planning dishes can be tricky since "there are so many people now with food allergies, whether it’s a nut allergy, diabetes, celiac or gluten-free." Sam accommodates all his guests with a variety of dishes and with ingredient substitutions when needed.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"Where I would have used soy sauce or I would have used bread crumbs or I would have used heavy cream, that’s the moment in time where I search for the alternative so that everybody can enjoy, because I don’t want one of my gluten-free guests not to be able to eat the roasted whatever because it [has] soy sauce," says Sam.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"I’m a chef, and ultimately I’m looking to please," admits Sam. "I just try to take all these things into consideration." His own experience growing up with diabetes since a young age helps him understand what it's like to have a food allergy or other dietary restriction.

Image Credit: Getty Images

For those living in small spaces, fridge space is a valuable commodity. Sam stresses the importance of planning ahead. Keep in mind the approach of important dates, so that a week or so before "you're not going to the grocery store anymore, and if you are, it's only for the things that you need." Your lean existence will reward you with plenty of space on the days you need it most.

Image Credit: Getty Images

If you know your neighbors well enough, Sam suggests trading fridge space. "Maybe your neighbor is not throwing a holiday party, and they’re coming over to yours. Ask if you can use some of their fridge space for the day.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Here's an ingenious tip from Sam on how to efficiently store prepped ingredients. Garlic, shallots, carrots, celery, onions and "anything that I can chop and nicely organize, [I] put in my [gallon-sized] storage bags and stack them."

Image Credit: Getty Images

"A lot of people say they don’t have room, [but] just take everything out, organize and then start from scratch. It’s really impossible to just open your refrigerator door that you’ve been living out of forever, and start cooking Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner and expect to have room," Sam tells us.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"If you’re doing cocktails and hors d'oeuvres first, you'd probably [need] two to four hors d'oeuvres per person per hour," advises Sam.

Image Credit: Getty Images

As for the number of types of hors d'oeuvres to make, Sam takes the the dietary restrictions of his guests into consideration. "You don’t know if someone is a vegan or if someone is a pescetarian or if someone doesn’t eat meat, and I like to have a pretty good spread. I like to keep people excited [with] an offering for everybody," he says.

Image Credit: Getty Images

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Planning a holiday party can be stressful, so we turned to chef Sam Talbot, a fan favorite from Bravo's Top Chef, to share his best entertaining tips. Discover how he plans the menu, what hors d'oeuvres are great served at room temperature and his ingenious trick to maximize fridge space.

Check out the slideshow above to discover Sam Talbot's best tips for a stress-free holiday party.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

People are Reading

Search Recipes