Ina Garten’s Secret for Successful Zoom Dinner Parties

Ina Garten, star of Barefoot Contessa, is the queen of dinner parties. She has a few tips and tricks for creating a Zoom dinner party your friends and family will remember. Whether you’re planning a Zoom gathering because of the pandemic or your loved ones are too far away to join your holiday celebration, the Food Network star has you covered.

Ina Garten says you should never bring this 1 thing to a dinner party

If you’re going to attend a dinner party, you’re likely trying to figure out the perfect host gift. Garten recommends choosing your gift carefully. She says the wrong gift could make a bad impression. There’s one type of gift Garten says you should never bring.

“Don’t ever bring something that has to be served at the meal unless the host or hostess has asked for it,” Garten tells Star Tribune. “I’m always afraid that if you bring a raspberry cheesecake — and they’ve made something for dessert that’s good but not great — then everyone is going crazy for your raspberry cheesecake, and that’s horrible for the hostess. It’s rude.”

“What should you bring to a dinner party? Garten suggests something simple like chocolate or a beverage. “Bring something that the host can enjoy at breakfast, or some good coffee, or a box of chocolates they can pass around after the meal,” Garten recommends.

 Ina Garten’s secret for successful Zoom dinner parties

Garten shared an important piece of advice for remote dinner parties. She says a friend told her the key to a successful Zoom party is that everyone eats the same thing.

“So, you not only have that experience of seeing each other, but in fact, you have that experience of smelling the same thing and eating the same thing,” says Garten during an interview with Stephen Colbert.

Another piece of advice Garten gives is to enjoy yourself. “Everything should be a treat!” she said during her interview with People back in 2018. “However, she also says you shouldn’t overdo it. “You don’t want everything to have cream and butter.”

Ina Garten plans meals in advance

Garten says it’s important to plan meals ahead of time. This helps reduce stress. “I think the best thing you can do, for any dinner, is to plan it really well,” Garten tells People. “I try to balance what I’m making with how I’m going to get it done. I make a few things in advance to reheat while the roast or turkey is resting. Or make some things that are on top of the stove, some things that are in the stove, and some things that are served at room temperature.”

Garten also saves time by purchasing some store-bought items. She tells home cooks they don’t have to cook everything.

“I’m a big believer in buying things,” she tells People. “Use the resources around you. If you know a food store that makes a fantastic potato gratin, start with that, and build around it. I’ve been saying this for 20 years—your friends won’t have any more fun if you make everything yourself.”

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