Antoni Porowski is the resident food and wine expert on the reboot of the television hit Queer Eye. He’s a self-trained home chef (and a big Whole Foods Market fan) who has worked in restaurants across Montreal and New York, and has been a personal chef to many high-profile clients. Antoni believes that the heart and stomach are interconnected, and he has become known for helping others discover easy ways to cook seriously good food.
There’s nothing I love more than having people over and cooking for them. One of the best things about warmer weather is that it’s a great time to have friends over for a laid-back get-together. But even though I love all of the preparation that goes into cooking, I get that people can feel like it’s just a lot of work. Of course, you should put in just a little bit of effort — you’re not going to make microwaved hot dogs for your guests (Whole Food Market’s house-made sausages on the grill, on the other hand, are a great grilling option and made with really good meat — but I digress). Here are a few simple tips that I love, because they’ll make you look like an amazing host. (Your guests will be happy, too — which is kind of the point of hosting, right?)
Live by the make some, buy some rule.
I love a crudités platter. This is summer's answer to my winter cheese and charcuterie platters: A visual feast that leaves you feeling good about yourself once you've devoured half of it. But here’s the trick: This is all about make some, buy some. One of my favorite crudités spreads –the one pictured here –is anchored with three Whole Food Market ready-made dips, seasoned to perfection: Guacamole, Beet Hummus and Walnut Pesto. (Dips may vary by region, but these are some of my favorites at my local Whole Foods Market.) When I’m using ready-made dips, I like to get creative with my vegetables. I like when organic cauliflower and romanesco florets adorn on one side, while sugar snaps, yellow wax beans, a trio of baby tomatoes, endive and colorful organic baby carrots fill every nook of the tray. I’m also a fan of radicchio and kale. You can fit loads of dip on both of those vegetables, and I like a high dip to vegetable ratio.
You can also always pick up 365 by Whole Foods Market prepackaged veggies, like 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Broccoli Carrots Cauliflower. You can add your own touches to them, too. If you do that, I recommend getting a little creative with your dips. You don’t have to do it all. Go halfway. You then made a little effort.
Have something ready for your guests right away.
I always make sure I have something laid out for when your guests walk in the door. It’s a sign of a good host: You’re taking care of them by feeding them. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In the winter, I love a charcuterie plate (I’ll actually eat it for a meal), and in the summer, I take advantage of all of the beautiful summer produce! Whatever it is, feed your guests right away and let them munch on something.
Make sure your guests have something to eat while you’re cooking.
If you’re cooking al fresco and you’re by the grill, you might be away from your guests. Even if you can’t keep them company while you flip their burgers, they’ll likely appreciate it if you have something for them to eat.
As a host, it’s all about giving your guests a good time and taking care of them — and that begins with feeding them really good food.