I recently read an interview with Naeem Khan where he described some of the tricks he uses for entertaining at home. Khan is a designer, born in India, whose clothes are sold in Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Khan loves to cook and sometimes entertains three times a week. His philosophy is quite simple and easy for the novice to adapt.
- Kahn loves simplicity – no glitz. He often uses touches of bright colors such as fuchsia or orange in placemats and napkins in his Miami apartment, which he says; compliment the blue sky and seascape. If he uses the bright colors, he chooses stark white dishes.
- Candles are often used for table decorations. He will line up or make a circle of candles of different heights in the center of the table. They should not be scented as that could detract from the fragrance of the food.
- Fresh flowers add elegance. One trick Kahn uses to avoid buying several bouquets of flowers is to buy a few peonies, break them apart and scatter the petals over the dining and living room tables.
- If available, you can get large leaves from your garden and use them as placemats.
- Food is served in small portions so there is space between each item. When the servings are touching each other on the plate, the appearance is not nearly as harmonious. He described how amazing it looks when he serves one kebab on a white, oversized plate with a dot of cilantro chutney.
- Kahn does all of the cooking in advance so he has time to enjoy his guests. This allows for him to make each guest feel important and to facilitate interaction among the guests.
- Finally, this great host greets everyone at the door with a special cocktail that he makes from coconut milk and pureed kumquats. The point is not the unique cocktail but that each guest feels as though the host has been eagerly anticipating their arrival.
Just adapting a few of these ideas can catapult you into a memorable hostess!