Tough times, pricey restaurants and the harsh temperatures of the coming winter are forcing many city dwellers back into the tiny kitchen of their already tiny apartments. For example, a Zagat survey reports that since the recession, 61% of New Yorkers are cooking more at home, while 56% have increased home entertaining. Keeping this in mind, an unlikely source has provided some unique and welcome advice on small-space entertaining.
Meet Rosemary Lindberg. Rosemary is the first mate and chef aboard The Pentesilea II. The 48-foot catamaran boasts four cabins, crew’s quarters and the world’s smallest kitchen. In running a profitable charter boat operation, Rosemary is constantly cooking and entertaining for as many as ten guests every night. Consistently operating in a 5 ½’ by 6 ½’ kitchen, with only 2’ of walking space, Rosemary has become an expert on limited space entertaining.
Here are some helpful and practical tips from Rosemary for planning your next dinner party:
Plan out your meal accordingly
Carefully plan out serving sizes for each guest: Try to gauge exactly how many guests you will have and how much they plan on eating. This will help keep you organized, and keep leftovers to a minimum.
Know what exactly you need to buy: Writing a list of every possible thing you could forget helps you stay organized and gets you ready for the prepping process.
Prepping kitchen & necessary foods ahead of time
Prep your kitchen first: When cooking in small kitchens it is best to keep your counter space clear. Keep knives & coffee maker off the surface or stowed away.
What are you preparing: Foods that have a longer sitting life (i.e. salad without dressing, cold dessert) should be made ahead of time and then stowed away.
If using anything frozen: All thawing should be done far in advance.
Starting your main courses: Do all chopping/cutting beforehand, and set aside ingredients in small bowls. Getting all the chopping out of the way ahead of time gives you more space for actual cooking.
If making a dessert: Make it before you start doing anything for the main meal. If it needs to be served hot, prep dessert then put it in oven while others are eating – ready to serve when the main course is finished.
Keep dishes and dish use to a minimum
Stick to one cutting board: When doing all of your chopping ahead of time, at the same time, sticking to one cutting board can greatly reduce kitchen clutter.
Reuse pots and pans when possible: Try to rinse out and reuse a pan after initial use. It will keep for a cleaner kitchen and give you more space with less clean up.
Keep silverware/plating to a minimum: You do not want to overcrowd your space with lots of plates and silverware. If making an appetizer/main course put things out on one big plate and offer napkins as small plates.
Make serving beverages a breeze
Make sure the bar is stocked: When entertaining guests, running out of alcohol is a no-no. Make sure to offer plenty of wine and beer, and if you can offer a special mixed drink.
Offering mixed drinks: If providing a cocktail, making a large or multiple pitchers before hand can ease stress level, keep guests happy & keep bar space clear.