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Roundtable Discussion: Home Entertaining for the Holidays

December 6, 2010
Kirsty Gumina

The Nob Hill Gazette recently invited Lucas Schoemaker, our President and Executive Chef of McCalls Catering & Events, to join a roundtable discussion on how to “prep, plan and produce memorable events, be it a small dinner party or hundred-guest event.” The guests were chosen for their expertise in wine, catering and entertaining.

Hosted at the home of Gina Gallo and Jean-Charles Boisset, the gathering began with a toast to the San Francisco Giants — World Series Champions!

Lucas offered these tips for planning a festive party in response to questions from Gazette editor Chérie Turner, who moderated the conversation.

Invitations: “Especially during the holiday season, because everybody’s busy, you need to send invitations at least four weeks in advance. I still like a paper invitation in the mail. I believe that people respond much faster than when they get e-vites.”

Home: You need to decide how much of your house you’re going to open up to your guests.

Guests: We had a situation with a party where nobody knew each other. It was very quiet and very sterile. The only way to bring atmosphere to the party was to put out little plates of food, and they had to share it on the table with each other. And once they had to start sharing, they had a conversation. It brought a whole new energy into the party; it was a huge success. We do that quite a lot now, if we see people that don’t know each other.

Surprise Factor: One of the changes I have seen over the years is the surprise factor that you want to give the people. Before, it was big surprise factors like balloon walls that blow up or large bands. But now people just want intimate, small surprises, not these overwhelming things.

For the full-roundtable discussion, please see the Nob Hill Gazette.

Photo by Scott Wall. Courtesy of Nob Hill Gazette