Present like a Pro

Yes, I know that in past columns I’ve said that we home cooks aren’t chefs and are not expected to be. Still, it’s nice to pick up home-entertaining ideas from the pros, since sometimes their tricks can so easily elevate our efforts. As it happens, I picked up several seemingly simple but stunning ideas at the housewarming party of some stylish new neighbors last weekend.

The cocktail menu by caterer Kate Baldwin ( of Richmond, MA, was enhanced by the alluring use of fruits and vegetables in the platter presentation. Among the dishes, two-bite vegetarian summer rolls were resting on a basket-weave of cucumber slices. Surprisingly flavorful silver-dollar sized smoked turkey sandwiches on tiny rolls, slathered with chutney and garnished with microgreens, were set off on brilliant burgundy-and-white striped raw Chioggia beet rounds. A bright orange papaya half not only lent color to a platter of lamb meatballs but became the clever receptacle for their wooden skewers.

The food was so good and the service so attentive that I’d hire Kate in a minute, if I were hosting a crowd. But next time I’m throwing a small dinner party, I might just try those presentation ideas myself.

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