Tips from Masterchef Junior Ariana Feygin.
- Prep, prep, prep. When I host my private dining experiences, one of the most important parts of making sure the dinner runs smoothly is prepping as much as I can in advance. I make sure to pre-chop all the veggies and herbs, have all the sauces simmering, and have the dessert ready to go before the guests arrive. This leaves more time to talk to the guests without having my hands tied in the kitchen.
- Be strategic with menu planning. When I’m thinking about the menu for my dinners, I am always strategic about what dishes I pick. I choose dishes that I can make in advance and know will be crowd pleasers. I’d steer clear of a meal that would require you to stand over the stove all night instead of joining in the fun. After you decide on what you are going to cook, make a list of ingredients based on your finalized menu. Give yourself enough time for two trips to the store (in case you forget something), plus one day of actual food prep.
- It’s the little things. One of my favorite parts about cooking for others is creating long-lasting memories for the people I serve. But you don’t need to cook a Michelin Star-quality meal to impress your guests. Many times, it is the little things that everyone remembers. For example, if I know a guest has a food they really love, I try to incorporate that in the menu. Just relax, and have fun with it. Your guests will follow suit!
Ariana Feygin is a 14-year old chef and Minnesota’s first contestant on Fox’s MasterChef Junior. She is the founder of her business Ariana’s Kitchen and is passionate about philanthropy, raising nearly $300,000 for charitable causes she is passionate about.