By HOLLY and GREG VERBECK  |  Moonshine Ink

Though many Tahoe favorites offer great dining, why not be your own host? Some of the best parties take place in your own home. A few years back, we asked owners Holly and Grog Verbeck of HeyChef! for some insider secrets to throwing a fabulous summertime party; this is what they shared, and we liked it so much we’re republishing it here.

1) Use fresh, high quality, whole food ingredients. Check out the local farmers markets and specialty food stores.


2) Don’t play with your food! That’s right – flip items on the grill once and don’t press out liquids. The best foods are simple and not over-handled or over-prepared.

3) Master your use of salt, spices, fresh herbs and sugar. Add a little at a time and use in the final stages of cooking to ensure great taste and presentation. Remember: You can always add more, but you can’t take away. Leave out salt while cooking; instead, garnish the dish with coarse sea salt before serving – it looks and tastes delicious.

4) Find out where your guests are from and what they grew up eating. Plan a menu or special dessert around this information and you’re sure to please hearts and bellies.

5) Food alone does not a good party make. The best events share the finest elements of food, ambiance and organization. Make lists for each and your gathering will benefit immensely.

6) Don’t experiment on a big night. Use tried and true recipes for your party, and you will feel confident and at ease throughout the event.

7) Get others involved. Share the joy, work, and expense by asking others to bring side dishes, decorations, music, beverages and more.

8) Complete 80 percent in advance. Plan a menu that allows you to prep nearly all of it ahead of time. When guests arrive you’ll only need to grill, assemble, and garnish before sitting down to enjoy the meal with your guests.

9) Let the party live on. Nothing kills a party faster than guests who feel they’re being asked to leave because the host is cleaning up around them. Wait until your guests go home before doing the dirty work.

10) Be a guest at your own party. It’s no fun if you spend all your time cooking, cleaning, serving, and emptying trash. Enlist the experts to help create a distinctive, personal and effortless get-together for your friends and family. You can make the party extra special by hiring bartenders, baristas, or barbecue grill masters.

~ Holly and Grog Verbeck own and operate HeyChef! For as little as $500, a private kitchen service like HeyChef! can provide staff to help with setup, serving, and cleanup. For more information or to book your next private, in-home party call HeyChef! toll free at 1-877-4HeyChef.


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