Tag holiday cooking parties

Parties That Cook’s Corporate Holiday Party Round Up: Early November

I know it’s been a while since we’ve taken a peek at our corporate events. Time to get back to the grind, and have some fun reminiscing about holiday cooking parties! We’re going to pick up right about where we left off: Early November. We had quite the start, with 26 corporate team building events in the first couple of weeks. Seems like Christmas came early this year!

On November 2nd, Indiana University‘s Kelley School of Business opted to host a Small Plates event in the San Francisco venue, Cookhouse. Indiana University host, Christine Z., is no stranger to Parties That Cook events – she’s hosted three over the past three years! Why does Christine keep coming back? “Great customer service and they’re easy to work with.” Sounds good to me! She noted that she thought this event was successful because of the laid back atmosphere (no wonder they keep picking Sumptuous Small Plates events!).

A couple of days later, on November 4th, Broadcom host Melissa D. wanted to push her team out of their comfort zone, and give them something they wouldn’t be used to. With a Cupcake Wars baking competition, boy did she accomplish her goals! Lead Chef Carolyn reported that though the 32 men in this group were a little hesitant at first, it didn’t take long for them to get into it. She added that they had a lot of fun and got very creative. And from the photos (some pictured here), you would think these were professional bakers! It can’t get any better than a perfect score on our post-event survey!

That same day, a group from the Hewlett Foundation participated in a Chef’s Table group cooking event. Host Christine T. explains, “I had never done a cooking class with a group before this, so I was a little nervous about how it would work – turned out great! It was lots of fun, food was great. I’d say it was definitely a success!” She knew she wanted to host a hands-on cooking event, and went with Parties That Cook after seeing our reviews. She added that “The food was so good! Maybe too good… We were completely stuffed by the end!” Still, I must say thanks for taking that leap of faith, Christine! I’m glad we delivered “A positive experience, from beginning to end.”

The third and final event of the day was held in a gorgeous private home with Align Technology, Inc. Host Tina B. opted for a Chef’s Table after deciding that Parties That Cook had the “best of what [she] saw both in terms of referrals and online menus.” After the event, she commented that the event “was very successful. We had a lot of fun and the team was great. The chef was perfect.” Nicely done, Scott! It’s great to hear that we live up to expectations!

Rounding out this blog post, we have a Chicago Kitchen Challenge event for Pepsi Co. Host Linda B. actually found us by searching the internet for “team building events“! LOVE IT. According to all-star Lead Chef Heidi, “Clients loved it! The host, Linda, must’ve said a dozen times, ‘this is awesome’. She was happy with the party from the moment that they arrived, and all the guests were thrilled at the end of the night.” Linda herself echoed the report, saying, “The night was great everything exceeded our expectations. Heidi and the team were awesome leaders. The event was successful because of their leadership but also because we all came to have fun.” Fantastic!

If you would like to see your event featured in a Parties That Cook blog, let us know! We’d be delighted to whip up something about your event for your company newsletter or team email!

Happy Holidays!

Plan Your Fourth of July Holiday Cooking Party

Summer always goes by way too fast. It is hard to believe the 4th of July is sneaking up already! However, it’s not too late to plan a great party that is in everyone’s budget. In a down economy, cheap thrills are the name of the game so what’s better than getting together with your friends to cook a delicious meal? Here are some great suggestions for a successful Fourth of July party:

No need for all the traditional kitschy decorations. Keep it simple and fun!

  • Wind a strand of white, red, or blue Christmas lights (or find inexpensive, outdoor lights at your local home store), around table legs or clip to the table edge and cover with a table cloth. This adds a bit of elegance and flair to any late afternoon or evening festivity. Also try the lights under an umbrella, canopy, or wrapped around small trees.
  • For centerpieces, skip the messy table glitter and create a simple centerpiece of fake flowers or balloons attached to a weight with a short string. Make sure to feature red, white, and blue!
  • Saltwater taffy in a tall vase in the center of the table makes another fabulous centerpiece. It can also double as a prize should you have any fun games planned later on at the party.
  • Use food as decoration! With scrumptious items such as heirloom tomato and mozzarella cheese stacks, strawberry and blueberry fruit tarts, and colorful margaritas, the food can be a perfect patriotic touch. Also, be sure to satisfy everyone’s cravings for traditional backyard BBQ with American favorites like burgers, watermelon slices,
    homemade lemonade and ice cream.

Sometimes the best parties have nothing to do with the food or the decorations but with how you spend your time. With fireworks being illegal, it may seem difficult to throw a successful Fourth of July party, but there are a ton of other games and activities that rival the excitement of fireworks!

Entertaining Tips:

Don’t get stressed if you haven’t hosted many parties before! Here are some tips for making any party, large or small, a successful one:

  • Spotlight your creations: Put your food on plain platters so that the food is the focus. Also, make sure that the garnish is edible and related to the food it is complimenting.
  • Don’t forget the drinks: Make sure the drinks you serve parallel the food it is accompanying. Use a light white wine for foods like Scallops and Mint Chutney. Pair red wine with dishes that have bolder flavors. Also, carry over the theme of the food into the drinks so that the entire meal flows seamlessly. A self-serve bar allows for a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Let music set the mood – Keep music going throughout the party. Upbeat music is perfect for a lively party and don’t be afraid to carry the culinary theme over into your music selections.
  • Get help: For a large party, ask for help from children (yours or someone else’s) for setting the table or helping with dishes. It is also a great idea
    to have prep stations for each course and allow your friends to help with
    the cooking.
  • Give party favors: Take pictures and email copies to your guests the following day. At the end of an event, present your guests with a new wooden spoon or whisk as well as a clean copy of all of the recipes you used for the event. Better yet, our Sumptuous Small Plates deck makes for a class-act party gift. It includes 30 of our clients’ favorite recipes that we use over and over at events!

Parties That Cook has more fantastic party ideas and recipes to make the holiday memorable. Check out our website at www.PartiesThatCook.com and peruse the Cooking Parties section for original and thrilling cooking party ideas, and the Recipes section for more delicious recipes!

Contributed by guest blogger Leigh Hermansen