For the Love of Entertaining


floral centerpiece
A floral centerpiece from our own garden

We love to entertain. Full-on. From a few people sitting around a campfire drinking hot toddies and eating s’mores to an elegant five course dinner with all the details in place, we are deeply nourished by gathering with people and connecting over food and drinks.

When I was 18 years old, I met Alex’s family. At a dinner party. With a lot of cutlery. And glasses. I was super intimidated and freaked out. You see, I was raised in a different kind of world. A world in which tv trays made of hard cream coloured plastic with scenes of horses running through fields were tucked behind plates with meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Where most parties meant paper plates and plastic cups because that made clean up easier. Where trays of oven fried chicken were balanced on the burners of the stove for a makeshift buffet dinner.  Not that there was anything bad or unpleasant about the food and dining experiences of my childhood. The food was all lovingly made, often by my grandmother and usually using chickens from the neighbours and vegetables from our gardens. And we had lots of parties. Family and friends gathered in our big house or at my great aunt’s (seriously) tiny house (her kitchen couldn’t handle a full-sized fridge, so it had a bar fridge!) And we ate and laughed and had fun.

It’s just that I did not know that dinner could involve two forks. Or cloth napkins folded to look like fans or birds. Or 3 glasses. When I met Alex’s mom, Aija, I believe she was at the apex of her hosting. For the first ten years, there were endless parties: dinner parties, themed parties, cake parties. You named it, there was a party for it. One Christmas, she hosted 19 parties. Who does that?! But it was a ton of fun. All these parties tapped into some deep part of me, into my creative and nurturing parts, and I fell in love. Pretty soon, we were hosting our own parties and helping Aija with some of her parties.I learned how to set a table with all the cutlery, and how to time the service of courses, and emergency repair a cake, and use the right glasses for port. I am always grateful for Aija sharing all of this knowledge with me and for the lessons in being a gracious and good host. I’ve carried this knowledge with me throughout my life, no matter what I’m doing, and although the port glass stuff doesn’t come up too often, the gracious host stuff comes up a lot.

neil dinner 1
The first of many courses


In this section of our website, we will be posting about parties we host or parties we cater or parties we would love to create. Enjoy the party and join the conversation! If you have any questions, thoughts, feelings about events please comment or send an email to or

Author: Chef Alex

Have Knives, will travel.

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