DIY Menu At Your Dinner Party? Here Are 6 Key Tips To Follow
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Have you invited friends over for taco night or a brunch where they get to pick their ingredients to throw into a frittata? Or have you been to a dinner party where you had the best time assembling a shawarma to your liking, while also being equally impressed by the attention to detail the host undertook to make your dining experience memorable? DIY dinner menus are an excellent way to engage almost all of one’s senses while crafting different flavours and experimenting with novel combinations.

As enjoyable as it seems to put together, DIY elements on a dinner menu are also an easy way to get off the hook about being the only one steering where a meal goes. As imperative as it is to have control and be on top of catering to the needs of your guests, DIY food options allow you to be part of the fun and engage with the people you’re hosting in a more relaxed manner. Imagine picking out a single dish with multiple elements, deconstructing it and allowing each one to pick and choose what they like, according to their tastes – case in point a make-your-own sandwich bar, or dessert fondue experience. Here are six key tips to consider while creating a DIY detailed menu for your next party.

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Advance Planning

Start planning the DIY element of your party menu well ahead of time – this includes deciding on a theme or style for the meal, taking into account any dietary restrictions or preferences your guests as well as having a sense of what kind of ingredients need to be sourced or prepped beforehand.

Balance Flavours

When designing a make-your-own menu, aim for a well-balanced selection of condiments and accoutrements that include something to appeal to all kinds of taste palates. Ensure that there is a variety of flavours, textures and options for vegetarians, vegans and those with specific types of dietary allergies. Plan smart in a way where if you have both, vegans and vegetarians attending your dinner, have vegan options available since vegetarians can also eat them without having to restrict themselves.

Time Management

Plan your cooking and meal prepping schedule mindfully – while also being aware that your only role is to have everything ready but not assembled. Make a detailed timeline that includes when each element of a dish needs to be worked upon and how they should be served. For example, grilling meats closer to the time of when your guests are ready to eat, is ideal – whereas an element like pickling onions, must be done in advance.

Presentation Matters

Although a DIY dinner menu doesn’t allow much scope for creative plating, use a bit of flair while you assemble and set up your sandwich or shawarma board. Use little details like garnishes, few different types of cold cuts or cheeses, place your vegetables close together for a colourful first look and make the presentation an enjoyable and memorable one for your guests.

Also Read:

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Recipe Testing

Before your big evening, create a small batch of the make-your-own platter you plan on serving. If you’re planning to host a hotpot night or have tacos on offer, try a few permutations of arranging, placement and even ingredients you plan on serving your guests. This will help you refine your technique, make adjustments wherever necessary and make sure the recipes are as you want them.

Delegate & Enjoy

The whole point of a DIY dinner menu is to not do everything on your own. Involve friends and family members to help bring everyone together for a quick demonstration, if necessary or passing ingredients around the table, which will allow you to interact and eat as freely as your companions, without having to worry about sharing second and third helpings with those who might want more.