Simple ideas if you’re hosting a luncheon this holiday season, according to chefs

To slow down. Calm. Underestimated.

If you’re like me and love any occasion that provides an excuse for a bit of decor and drinks – but don’t like feeling overwhelmed – then hosting a breakfast party is probably the way to go for more enjoyment. ‘a reason. .

A more casual and casual affair than dinner, hosting a lunch is an easy and relaxed way to get together with loved ones. It’s an underrated event, filled with good conversations that quietly linger over a sunset and a glass of wine. And with the summer weather blessing us lately, hosting (or attending) lunch is all the more appealing.

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But with a list of decisions that can become intimidating too quickly, especially for those of us who are new to the hosting situation, it’s important to plan ahead and figure out how best to set up your comfortable meeting. Main course? Accompaniments? Cocktails? Music? tablescape? There are many components to consider.

To make things easier, I decided to reach out to the experts, picking the brains of chefs and cooks on their favorite recipes and tips for hosting a simple lunch. Have a pen and paper handy, because these ideas are the ones you’ll want to jot down.

Sophie McIntyre, founder of Club Sup

What is your favorite food ?

Grilled butterfly prawns with butter and salsa verde. It looks so impressive and takes all of 20 minutes. You also can’t pass a burrata of tomato and basil or a batch of slow roasted garlic and fennel.

What advice would you give to someone considering hosting a luncheon?

Treat yourself to high-quality ingredients for your high-rotation dishes for a celebration… high. Club Sup menus are all centered around super simple dishes and high quality ingredients with great fresh sauces or salsa verdes. When in doubt, just cook anything Alison Romain – she will never let you down. Never. Order everything you can to be picked up or delivered to avoid busy stores. Even the Queen Victoria Market now delivers.

What are the ideas on how to set it up?

To welcome, set the table as the first job of the day. For me this is the most creative part and you can really enjoy it before you start thinking about lunch or dinner.


Lauren and Fred, founders of Long Prawn

What is your favorite food ?

Go bananas – bake things that are chalk and cheese, focus on things that are your bread and butter. In your house, you are the big cheese and nothing can really look like a pear. The icing on the cake is to trust your talent. In good company and if you take everything with a pinch of salt or with a humble slice of pie, you can’t go wrong.

What advice would you give to someone considering hosting a luncheon?

The perfect lunch isn’t a hard nut to crack and when done thoughtfully, it can be a piece of cake. When thinking of guests, go for the smart cookies, over the couch potatoes, maybe invite the apple of your eye and kindly suggest that your friend doesn’t bring a rotten egg. If you’re really in trouble and can’t get the creme de la creme, butter someone who might not be your usual cup of tea.

What are the ideas on how to set it up?

Long Prawn is happy to spill the beans. Cook bravely, chat feverishly, put on the right lighting and cool drinks and the world is yours.


Dezi Madafferi, home cook

What is your favorite food ?

I’m obsessed with slow-cooked Mediterranean roast lamb, you know the one that crumbles to the touch? Served with crispy roast potatoes – yum! Consider a variety of fresh salads to offer on the day and what sides to include. Fried rice can be made ahead and is tastier the day before (serve at room temperature).

What advice would you give to someone considering hosting a luncheon?

Plan, prepare, and enjoy… I highly recommend writing down a list and thinking about what meals to prepare, including a signature cocktail. [When I make this list] it also breaks down the ingredients for all the dishes and what I’ll need for my favorite desserts like my popular tiramisu and rocky road. My best advice is to do what you can ahead of time, including groceries, and do what you can the night before.

What are the ideas on how to set it up?

Lay out the tablecloth and style your table ahead of time. Layer your dishes, add natural linen tablecloths and a little… style. It could also include a decorative ornament or a touch of nature.


Tom Sarafian, chef and founder of Sarafian

What is your favorite food ?

I love setting up a big table full of cold mezze to start lunch. Vegetables like peppers, eggplant, and zucchini cooked over charcoal and marinated in olive oil taste great when prepared a day or two ahead. They taste best when taken out of the refrigerator in the morning and left at room temperature at noon. Season them with fleur de sel and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with homemade labneh, fresh herbs, crispy sourdough, pickles and olives – all of which can be served before your guests arrive.

What advice would you give to someone considering hosting a luncheon?

My best advice is to cook a barbecue the night before. Sliced ​​zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and spring onions simply cooked over charcoal then marinated in olive oil and sea salt look wonderful served at room temperature the next day. I also like to serve cold meats on the barbecue. Butterfly chicken, lamb and beef cooked then refrigerated overnight. Take them out of the fridge before your guests arrive and cut them into thin slices. Arrange on large plates and serve with toum, harissa, fresh herbs and lettuce.

What are the ideas on how to set it up?

I love serving a simple cold mezze spread for lunch in the summer. A lovely table full of many small dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush, labneh, raw and pickled vegetables, olives, fresh cheeses, breads, seafood and cold cuts. These can all be plate-up and ready to eat before your guests arrive, so you’re relaxed and can enjoy a stress-free lunch too.


For more ideas on how to host a luncheon, read this.

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