HoLiDaY PaRtY TiMe!

Happy Holidays!

It's holiday party time!
Are you planning a gathering for your work or business?
Perhaps some of these ideas will be useful...

For the second year in a row, we held our party at The Depot Restaurant in Torrance, California. The banquet room is a warm space with red walls decorated with kimonos. Just the right size for 75 - 100 guests, the lighting is flattering and the acoustics generate good energy in the room yet allow for conversation.

Full bar, great wine by the glass, festive non-alcoholic drinks.

Live Music
Barry Anthony Jazz Band playing Christmas favorites as well as snappy jazz tunes.

Jalapeño Cheese Wontons
Reception with passed appetizers to encourage mingling among the guests.

Ahi Tuna Tartare
Neat little bucket to place used spoons.

Chicken Empanadas with Thai Chile BBQ Sauce
Global Flavors!
 And Fried Macaroni & Cheese (not shown)

Each place is set with party favors, Holiday Jam and Sugar Plum Jam by Stonewall Kitchen decorated with ribbons and bows and a recipe sheet for the Chef's cooking demonstration.

Chef Shafer prepares the first course, Smashed Potato Corn Bisque, as a demonstration. Everyone gets a copy of the recipe to recreate at home. We had so much fun at the Depot last year, we came back again this year. Last year Chef Shafer demonstrated a Wilted Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Bacon, excellent recipe, here.

If you are cooking for A LOT of people, this recipe scale is for you:

  • 25 Red Skin Potatoes
  • 1/2 c. Canola Oil
  • 2.T. Course Salt
  • 2.T. Course Black Pepper
  • 2 T. Chopped Garlic
  • 1 T. Basil Dried
Soup Preparation:
  • 2 c. Diced Onion
  • 2 c. Diced Carrots
  • 2 c. Corn, Fresh off the Cob
  • 1/4 c. Canola Oil
  • 1/2 gallon Cream
  • 1 gallon Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Toss the potatoes with the list of ingredients above, roast on a baking sheet at 350° F for 35-40 minutes. Let cool then smash the potatoes by hand.

To prepare the soup:
Sauté onions and carrots in oil until soft.
Add cream, heat through.

Add smashed potatoes.

Look at this kitchen equipment, would ya? Oh, I love that pot, and how about that immersion blender!!!

Blend briefly, then add stock and heat through.
Add fresh corn kernels, salt and pepper to taste, then...


First Course: Smashed Potato Corn Bisque

Wouldn't it be neat to recreate this demonstration for guests in your home during your next dinner party?

Main Courses:
Curry Roasted Salmon, Cashew Veggies

Roast Sirloin with Mixed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes
And Buttermilk Chicken & Fries (not shown)
All Served Family Style

Banana Cream Pie

Berry Cobbler
Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Pie with Strawberries

Some tips I have learned over the years from planning holiday parties for the workplace:
  • Save the Date. Let guests know the date well in advance of the party.
  • Plan business party date early in the holiday season so as not to conflict with personal holiday parties.
  • Choose a convenient location, not too far from place of business.
  • Have clear communication (in writing) with the Chef regarding food and with the Manager regarding expectations for set up and service.
  • Encourage employees to bring a guest whether it be a spouse, significant other, family member, or a friend.
  • A pretty and joyful invitation indicates your intention to throw a special party.
  • Have specific start and end times (not too late).
  • Insure safe transportation.
  • Accommodate special dietary needs.
  • Full bar, good wines, special seasonal non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Live music.
  • Entertainment (We love the cooking demonstration)!
  • Employer to make a brief speech, welcome guests, share good tidings.
  • Have unique party favors to take home. (Since we have a cooking demonstration, we give food related gifts).
  • Festive atmosphere and decorations.
  • Encourage guests to wear holiday attire.
  • Pay attention to detail.
If you have holiday party tips for the workplace to share, we'd love to hear them!