Hosting the ideal fall dinner party is easy: Just get an idyllic log cabin in the woods with a huge fireplace and drape cashmere blankets on every couch and chair. Unfortunately, that’s just not a possibility for most people. But that doesn’t mean the ultimate cozy dinner party is out of reach. Here, chefs share their best tips for creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for the best-ever fall and winter parties.
1. Light lots of candles. “No matter the season, candles add warmth and coziness to a dinner or cocktail party,” says Shawn McClain of Green Zebra in Chicago. “We use a combination of pillars, tea lights and tapers, and even the battery-operated ones that flicker to look like candles. They’re impressively candle-like. We’ll set those on our coffee tables and credenzas so we don’t get so stressed about burning the house down.”
2. Start a fire. At Mott St in Chicago, chef Edward Kim lights a small bonfire on the patio to celebrate the start of fall. “At home, lighting a fireplace or a small fire in the backyard will create the same inviting and warm atmosphere,” he says. “The smell of burning wood and leaves is a sensory experience that most people love, and it encourages them to huddle up next to the fire and socialize.”