If the thought of hosting a dinner party makes you want to run for the hills, you’re not alone. The fear of judgement, the fear of messing up your perfectly planned evening with burned souffle, the planning, the chaos!
Enter Chef Ryan Scott, who knows a thing or two about hosting dinner parties. Afterall, he is the owner of Finn Town, a tavern located in the lively Castro district of San Francisco.
Watch the video above to see how he helped our intimidated viewer Allison Madigan from Staten Island, New York throw her first-ever dinner party, and get his simple tips below -- it’s easier to do than you think!
READ: Mary Giuliani Solves Your Biggest #PartyProblems
PICK A THEME, ANY THEME -- IN THIS CASE, CAMPING
We know, we know -- you’ve probably heard this tip before, but it really is key. Scott says that by choosing a theme, it’ll help you focus, give you inspiration, and also help get your creative juices flowing. Sticking with seasonal themes is an easy way to start, and with spring right around the corner, a rustic camping theme is perfect. (Btw, did you notice his shirt in the video?! It’s flannel!)
STICK TO A CASUAL MENU
No need to go all five-star restaurant here, especially for your first party! Make something that is easy and fun -- and let your slow cooker help you out. For this camping party, Scott chose to make pulled pork street tacos. This way, you can create a fun taco bar with all the fixin’s and everyone can help themselves -- even the kids! Get his recipe here.
READ: Throw Your Best Party Ever with 5 Brilliant Tips from Lauren Conrad
SET UP A DESSERT BAR
With a little creativity, you can turn your dessert bar into something fun to go with your theme. Here, Scott got his hands dirty (pun-intended!) and created an ice cream bar using small planter pots, chocolate ice cream (to look like mud), gummy frogs, crushed chocolate cookies to act as “dirt,” and candied rocks. Both kids and adults will have a blast making their own sundaes!
GET A LITTLE HELP FROM MOTHER NATURE (AND THE DOLLAR STORE)
Scott created an outdoorsy table design using stuff he found in nature, and purchased the rest at a dollar store. See how he pulled it all together in the video above!