Catering at Christmas

Our tips for keeping calm in the kitchen


As specialists in wedding, event and corporate catering, the team at Thyme Out is used to keeping calm under pressure and delivering top quality, delicious food every time.

1. Keep starters light. The last thing you want after you have been slaving over a hot stove for the best part of the day is for your guests to be full before you’ve even carved the turkey! Your homemade soup may be a crowd pleaser, but it’ll be filling and other starters such as pate can be very rich. Choose something light that can be quickly prepared on the day or ideally prepared in advance.

2. This neatly leads on to top tip number 2 – advance preparation. There are some elements of the dinner that are best done on the day, such as meat and roasties, but items such as veg can very easily be prepared in advance to reduce stress. Sprouts and other green veg can actually be much tastier and hold their colour when cooked, refreshed and then quickly reheated. Roast parsnips can also be done the day before to get the perfect colour and then reheated for 5 or so minutes in the oven as your meat is resting.

3. Make a timings list. Organisation is the key to keeping calm, so have a list written out with all the items and what time they need to go in the oven. You can then have a quick glance at this when you’re serving up and check everything has made it to the plates and the stuffing hasn’t been left in the oven!

4. Don’t overdo it on desserts. You may have different people with different tastes coming round, but after a big Christmas dinner most of your guests are unlikely to want more than one portion of dessert, so what’s the point in preparing 4, plus mince pies, oh and not forgetting cheese and biscuits! Keep to 2 or at the absolute max 3 choices – this will be more than enough to cater to most tastes.

5. Don’t get overwhelmed! At the end of the day, Christmas dinner is just a big roast dinner, so don’t work yourself into a tiz! Get as much done in advance as you can and delegate tasks such as setting the table to other family members. There’ll then be less to panic about in the couple of hours before, meaning you can have a glass of fizz and enjoy the rest of the day!