The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free Gourmet Menus book - offer ends 26 February 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Fig recipes

Figs. We can't get enough of them. Here are a few sweet and savoury ways to add them to your summer spread.

Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

Top Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2017

A lot has changed since we first published our pick of the best chefs to follow on Instagram (way back in the dark ages of 2013). Here’s who we’re double-tapping on the photo-sharing app right now.

Christine Manfield recipes

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."

The party planner

1 Get the idea right from the beginning
Envisage the kind of party you want to throw, and be true to the dream. A party should be an expression of you and your true style.
 
2 Plan
Establish realistic timelines and deadlines, and stick to them. This is vital for remaining organised and keeping stress to a minimum. Creativity paired with administrative efficiency and financial understanding is a party match made in heaven.

3 Set a budget

This will allow you to engage the best and most appropriate suppliers for your needs.

4 Know your audience
Understand your invitees' likes and dislikes. If you're having a dinner party, seat guests appropriately because, at the end of the day, this is what makes the party work. I never seat couples or best friends together and I even like the idea of switching seats after each course (when there are, of course, not too many guests) - it gets people talking.

5 Create a point of difference
Not just for the sake of difference but to ensure you give guests a heightened experience. Read magazines and books, travel, dine out and listen to other people's experiences - you will gain plenty of ideas from this kind of activity.

6 Stay true to the original concept
Write down ideas, create a concept (where required) and stick with it - deviation will only cause disintegration.

7 Appeal to the eyes as well as the tastebuds

Food stations or buffet installations are great at cocktail parties because they allow those with a large appetite to graze throughout the entire evening while providing the host with a catering expression of generosity. Food needs to not only be delicious according to your tastes, but visually exciting, too. Simplicity is de rigueur - there's nothing like a perfectly ripe peach or a big bowl of beluga.

8 Set your stage for the right occasion
Lighting and candles, music, table settings, flowers and place cards all create ambience. The lighting is key to making everyone look sexy - votive candles are best as they are inexpensive, easy and you can spread them everywhere.

9 Don't say no to help
One man or woman can do nothing - a team of creative people collaborating is what makes a party. Find people you work well with; mutual respect is paramount.

10 Make sure your chosen environment can handle what you are trying to create
If there is not a lot of room in the kitchen for extra ovens, pots and pans, be clever with the menu. Devise it so that all the courses don't need cooking or heating - a fresh lobster tail with crunchy iceberg, avocado, citrus mayo and a wedge of lime is simple yet so luxurious.

11 Chic invitations
Invitations set the scene for your party and build anticipation for your guests, so take the time to get them right. Make sure all details are correct and instructions are easy to understand - a map reference, information on where to park, dress codes, clear RSVP details and so on. The new luxury is writing invitations on the thickest paper stock available.

12 Enjoy the process
Enjoying yourself is both the hardest and most important thing a party planner must do. The event itself is actually the least amount of the overall time you spend on creating the experience - ensure you have fun in the lead-up and after the event. If your guests see you enjoying yourself, they will too.

13 Embrace excess
Lots of food, lots of drinks, lots of ice. It's a bore to run out of anything and more means more fun. If your budget doesn't allow for an entire range of things, then have just one thing really well done - and lots of it.

Bruce Keebaugh is the CEO of The Big Group.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
The Gourmet Traveller Christmas Boutique extends opening hours
14.12.2016
Flutes & saucers
05.12.2016
Our second homewares range is out now
22.11.2016
Our pop-up Christmas Boutique is now open
22.11.2016
Inside the GT x STILY Christmas Boutique
16.11.2016
The Ultimate Picnic Backpack
14.11.2016
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Battle of the bills

Kelly Eng rehearses her restaurant game plan, flexes her for...

Meet your maker: florist Sophia Kaplan

Tree peonies, dahlias and dogwood blossoms are on the menu f...

In full bloom

While the dining table is at the centre of any Christmas cel...

Leave it to your oven

Step back and let your oven do the work at your next dinner ...

Five Australian ceramicists to know right now

Thrown, glazed and painted all by hand, make these the star ...

Happy birthday H.A.G.

H.A.G. Imports CEO Max Grundmann talks 50th anniversaries, s...

50 fast party ideas

Does the idea of entertaining throw you into a mad panic? Ho...

50 fast party ideas

Does the idea of entertaining throw you into a mad panic? Ho...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×