When you entertain, do you notice how EVERYONE tends to hang out in the kitchen where you are cooking and making a big mess? Guests, with wine glass in hand, gravitate to the home chef…who is in the KITCHEN. After all, who doesn’t want to be in on the action? The great room kitchen and living area naturally puts guests in your work space. This creates all sorts of issues. Sometimes as the chef, you need their help. Sometimes as the chef/host you just want your guests to relax and take a night off. And that doesn’t include them standing in your work zone. In what we call laughingly a “one butt kitchen” it can cause the host a lot of stress trying to concentrate on the execution of dinner if the kitchen is small and crowded. In the great room kitchen, guests are generally mingling in and out of your work space which makes it fun for everyone. But, it can also cause some stress for the chef/host if she is wildly coordinating ingredients and the timing of each food she is preparing. Some of us are gifted at talking and working at the same time. Others are not.
How is the guest to know what to do? As a guest, when you arrive and say hello to the host/hosts it’s perfectly okay to ask if they can use your help, but it is not a requirement. However, if the host says “no, thank you” then “no” means “no.” Sometimes it means “not right now” but you’ll figure that out depending on the circumstances. For the host/chef, if they know they’ll need assistance at some point during the evening they should ask one of the guests in advance of their arrival if they would help out. There are guests (counts us in) when invited to a dining event in someone’s home that are more than happy to help. There are others who are perfectly content to be a guest. And so they should be. It’s all part of the dance we call “entertaining at home.”
The two of us dream about our perfect kitchen. No, actually we obsess about our perfect kitchen and plan many dinner parties in our heads. If you find you are spending more time in the kitchen, then you are part of a growing trend. The kitchen may just be the most important room in your house!