Top tips to host a festive gathering successfully

By Private Chef & Founder of CBC consultancy and events Vanessa Bayma

It is the season of events, large family meals and festive gatherings to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you are a pro at throwing an extravagant soiree or a newbie, it is absolutely natural to feel a little anxious while delving into the realms of entertainment, food and hospitality.

While ensuring every guest is taken care of with a tasteful spread on the table, it is also important for the host to be stress-free and in a jovial spirit, to create lasting memories with the ones they love most.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind to help simplify, manage, and host a wonderful gathering whether big or small.

Create a list and always check it twice

Hosting a party is not an easy task. One needs to bear multiple things in mind – right from the décor to all ingredients needed for meal prep as well as the entertainment, and the list goes on. It is important to create a checklist (and check it twice) to organise all the to-dos by week, day and hours leading up to the gathering.

The checklist can be as detailed as needed with specific instructions on how to place the cutlery, the type of glasses required for different cocktails or something as simple as the playlist for the evening.

Experiment alone but never at a party

While working on the menu for any party, always stick to recreating the classics and dishes that you’ve been complemented on before. Add your own spin on it with spices and layering textures to create a festive twist to your signature dishes.

Even though you might feel like experimenting with recipes that you have previously watched on your favourite cooking show, it’s not always as effortless as they make it seem and might require a couple of tries till you perfect it.

If you are passionate about cooking, take the time to practise the recipes you would like to include for your next festive gathering.

Choose your serving style

Before curating your party menu, decide upon your serving style and set up as it will heavily influence the types and variety of food. For Instance, events that are usually for networking prefer canapes that can hold up well without causing a mess.

On the other hand, if you’re hosting a large family get-together, opt for a buffet-style meal or family-style meal — where people sit around a table and food is passed on platters.

Decorate your plate cause we eat with our eyes

As said by Apicius, a first century Roman gourmand, ‘We eat first with our eyes’; I truly believe that food plating plays a big role in how we imagine the food tastes which in turn has an impact on our overall experience.


Embellishing a plate before serving provides a visual element that creates an appeal towards food, adding that much needed and a special finishing touch.

It is important to create elements on your plate that fits with your aesthetic and enhance your presentation. For example, fresh herbs and infused oil make for an easy garnish; they not only add texture to your dish but also enhance the aroma.

Simple ideas can have a huge impact!

For those who love hosting gatherings but are busy with shopping for the big day, kids’ recitals and the general chaos of the season, a simple solution to take the load off their shoulders would be to hire one of the many personal chefs and independent caterers in Dubai, with some covering other Emirates too.

With Private Chef Vanessa Bayma and her personally handpicked and professionally trained CBC team, the host can sit back and relax as she conceptualises and manages the whole event, curates the menu and develops recipes customised to one’s theme and culinary preferences.

From small to large scale event management villas, residences and private yachts, your very own Private Chef will take care of all your party duties, adding that extra sparkle to your buffet and taking few things off your plate.

For more information, visit the website, WhatsApp +9715 8860 4799 or email

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