5 Holiday Entertaining Hassles Solved

From Christmas to Kwanzaa to Diwali to Hannukah, ’tis the season to entertain.

Need some hosting help this holiday season? We caught up with the experts at Peake Catering to get some pro advice on how to impress your guests without the stress.

1. Call for backup.

If preparing packaged ramen is your idea of a home-cooked meal, consider a caterer. Beyond allowing you to serve up something truly special, it will also give you much more time to mix and mingle with your guests. The Peake Catering’s Michelin-star-trained chefs can provide a feast for you this season that feeds up to six people, and all you have to do is pick it up and reheat it (or, get the team to come in and prep it). Enjoy pre-carved sage- and cinnamon-brined roasted turkey; stuffing made with pillowy focaccia bread; shaved Brussels sprouts with baby kale, cranberries, feta, almonds and mulled-wine dressing; cacio-e-pepe-flavoured butternut squash; and a caramelized pumpkin tart with candied pecans and maple whipped cream. Details online.

2. Get a room.

If your home isn’t big enough to comfortably accommodate a large group of guests, consider booking a venue. Select a space depending on how many you’re hosting—and the best part? The mess stays there and you’ll go home to a clean house afterwards. Whether you’re looking for brunch in a glass atrium, winter-glam cocktails on an outdoor patio, or a seated or family-style dinner for up to 100, check out Brock House in Point Grey, which overlooks Jericho Beach. Peake Catering is now the mansion’s exclusive caterer and they can create a menu to suit any occasion.

3. Leave it to the chefs.

If your group has a lot of dietary restrictions, it can be difficult to create a menu that caters to everyone’s needs. Again, this is where the experts can help. “We aim to not just offer an alternative for vegans, but the best options by creating concepts and testing menu items in our kitchen,” says Peake Catering’s owner James Thornley. “Our yam and shiitake ‘meatloaf’ made of brown lentils, walnuts and pecans, with fig gravy has been a big hit two years in a row.”

4. Get inspired to decorate.

The pro team at Spectra Event Group created this effortless-looking tablescape using accessories and earthy materials in soft, neutral colours. Add plenty of different textures to keep the palette from being boring. Also: black is the new black, so sprinkle in a few midnight-coloured pieces—like cast iron candlesticks (hint: matte black spray paint works miracles)—for contrast. The trick is to make it look like you just threw a bunch of stylish, tasteful pieces you just happen to own together. Don’t own the stuff? Luckily, you can rent it.

5. Be careful not to overserve.

If your friends and family go wild when they get together, maybe it’s time to stop refilling those bottomless glasses of wine. The sensible play is to create a couple of house drinks. Make one of them a crushable, sparkling wine-based punch with a clever name, theme, colour or flavour that works for your squad. The experts at Peake Catering can design bespoke drinks for you as well as canapés to pair with them. Also: mocktails. Peake’s mixologists will swizzle up a non-alcoholic alternative that’s so tasty, guests will be clamouring for it.