Food and dining isn’t just a gastric experience. It’s a well-rounded event where we can enjoy great company, great food, and the right atmosphere. Perhaps, that’s why eating out, or dining in a fancy restaurant has become a cultural thing for many.
Dining out is all well and good, but it’s not the end-all, be-all when it comes to the dining experience. It’s fun to dress well and enjoy a good meal with a good atmosphere with friends and family, but there are downsides to it.
You’ll often have to book well in advance to avoid having to wait in line (or stand in line) for a reservation. Not to mention it can get quite expensive. Eating out often isn’t always the most practical solution when it comes to celebrations and get-togethers. There’s also a lack of privacy when it comes to eating at a restaurant.
But is there any alternative? Yes, there is.
You can still dine at home and make the experience rival eating at the fanciest restaurants. With a bit of creativity and imagination (plus some tips and tricks), you can make your home celebrations feel like a night at an expensive restaurant. Here’s how you can do that.
Decorate Right and Set the Mood
The decoration is often what sets the difference. We don’t normally decorate our dining area, so here’s the chance. Take the time and opportunity to decorate your space, and don’t be afraid to take inspiration from your favorite restaurants. Consider the chairs and tables you’ll be using.
Ideally, they’re hardwood and not plastic, but even if it’s plastic, there’s a way to work around it. Include lights and candles in your overall design. Having mood lighting doesn’t just make the room look better, but your food as well. Music is another contributing factor, so fire up music that everyone agrees with. Or you can play it safe and go for some jazz or classical music.
Don’t just decorate your dining; decorate your kitchen as well. Having a clean and beautiful kitchen maintains the atmosphere better. It helps if your countertops are quartz, marble, or granite — anything with a good texture and regal feel. You want your kitchen countertops clean, and there should be nothing on the sink. The decoration can truly make or break your entire experience so take it slow and deliberate with this one.
Have a Menu
Whether for a night of celebration or as something that’s integrated into your daily routine, a menu does a lot in making your dinner or meals feel bigger than it is. For one, having the feeling of options resembles eating out. If you print it out on paper or even scribble it on a shabby chic chalkboard, it’ll look even better. However, the technique here is cooking needs to be the one to prepare the ingredients and the menu, and the options in the menu will all be based on what the prepared ingredients are… which brings us to the next point.
Prepare Your Ingredients
If you’re planning to pull this off, better get started with your ingredients right now. And since it’s not just any meal, you can splurge a little. Get good ingredients, ones that you’ll enjoy having. Make sure to prepare everything before your big day.
Meal preparation is a skill that many should learn; only this time, it’s something you must do. Learn how to cut portions and set them properly. When you’re about to eat it, all it takes is to cook it in a pan and serve it. Learning how to chop and garnish will also make your meals look a thousand times more beautiful.
Don’t Forget the Tablecloth
A few points back, we mentioned how you need to be aware of your decoration and space layout. If your dining table isn’t stunning, there’s a simple (and cheap) solution to it: use a tablecloth. It’s an accessible accessory that can unify the theme and feel of your table setting.
A tablecloth is simple enough to use, and it brings a lot of benefits. It reduces the sound of utensils and cutlery, so if you’re particular with that, that’s one less thing to worry about. It also removes the need for placemats, so you’re essentially saving space. And of course, it simply looks nice. That’s enough of a reason for occasions like this.
With these pointers, anyone can have a good dinner, even at home. The cooking has to be top tier; that much is certain. But upping the atmosphere makes the whole experience better.