Here at Eatwith, we’re proud to count on over 20,000 hosts offering 5,000 different culinary experiences all around the world. You can choose anything from a cooking class in Rome to a rooftop dinner in Barcelona to a market tour in Paris – the possibilities are nearly endless. But glamorous destinations and exciting dining venues aside, what really makes our experiences special are the hosts.
No matter where you are, whether that’s Paris, France or the tiny Paris, Arkansas (population: around 3,500; guidebook mentions: very few!), it’s the people you dine with that add that magical extra touch to a great meal.
So, how can you provide that unforgettable experience? We’ve taken tips from some of our top Eatwith hosts for how you can be an amazing host yourself.
Give people all the information they’ll need ahead of time
Your guests will probably be coming from all over the world, and may not be very familiar with your city. They’ll appreciate having a note letting them know the best ways to get to your location and what time to show up, as well as how they can contact you in case something comes up, like they’re running late. If there’s something unusual about your house – say the doorbell doesn’t work very well or there are two streets with a similar name – let them know, too.
“My home is your home”
This is something a lot of our hosts are fantastic at – making their guests feel like they’re right at home. While it might sound daunting, doing small things like making sure people know where things are and letting them know they’re welcome to make themselves at home go a long way. Offer them a drink when they come in, give them somewhere to put their things, and introduce them to anyone who’s there already.
Even if you don’t know your new guests at all, treat them just as you would an old friend. In no time at all, you may be feeling like old friends!
Get the details ready ahead of time
Sometimes, it’s the little things that really make a meal stand out. Make sure your place is in tip-top shape, and add some pretty touches that make things feel special. A fresh vase of flowers or some candles are always nice additions, and a bit of music is good, too. If your home looks lovely and inviting, people will notice that you’ve gone the extra mile and made a special effort for them.
When it comes to your food, prepare some parts ahead of time so you don’t have to spend the whole time in the kitchen. Chop vegetables, get out the ingredients you’ll need, set the table, and so on. That way, you’ll have less to do when your guests are there. You may also want to set out some snacks for your guests to eat as they arrive and get comfortable.
Share your passions & interests
Petra is an art director who lives in Amsterdam in a beautiful house that’s right on the water. She invites people into her home for art-themed dinners, and loves to express her creative side in her meals as well. When your her guest, it’s like your part of her family, and she’ll explain to you a lot about her fascinating career in the art world.
Your guests might learn something new from your interests if they’re not artists, or you might find a kindred spirit with the same keen eye for art. Either way, it’s always inspiring when somebody shares things about what they really love.
Ask your guests lots about themselves
Asking your guests some simple questions about themselves can help break the ice when they first arrive. Ask them what they think of the city, how their trip is going, what they plan to do next, and what they like doing at home. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. If you have an event where people don’t know each other beforehand, this is a great way to get people to start chatting. Just be genuinely interested and you’re well on your way to flowing conversation!
Cook what you love
Some of our hosts like to serve their guests their signature dishes – like Antonio in Rome who creates what he calls “the T-Rex of artisan burgers”. Others like to stick to traditional food from their home region, like André in Lisbon who teaches you how to make traditional Portuguese dishes. It’s no wonder both of these hosts have excellent ratings from happy Eatwith guests all over the world. It doesn’t matter what you make, as long as you love it yourself!
Have a little bit extra, just in case
This goes for food and drinks; ensure you’ve got a bit more than enough for your guests on hand. You don’t want people to feel like they’ve gone without. You’ll also want to have drink options available; perhaps one of your guests won’t feel like having the wine you’d planned to serve.
Explain how you made the meal
Some of our best hosts get comments from guests who loved that their hosts took the time to explain what special elements went into making the meal. Patrizia in Barcelona’s guests often comment that the food was delicious, and the explanation of the traditions that have gone into the preparation are lovely, too. After all, your guests are probably interested in your culture, too – so don’t be afraid to open up and share special stories about the food you’ve prepared.
Don’t rush – enjoy the Eatwith moment!
If you’re nervous, it can be tempting to rush through the event. But put your nerves aside and relax; this is a moment to savor. One easy thing you can do to offer a sense of the moment is to offer guests a small drink after dinner. Lots of people like having a coffee or a glass of wine after a meal to finish it off nicely. Your guests will feel pampered and an after-meal drink is a perfect time to linger a little longer and chat more.
Thank everyone for coming
It’s an honor when somebody decides they want to experience the special meal or the Eatwith event you’ve spent lots of time planning and perfecting. Make sure to thank your guests for coming, both in person and with a quick message after the event.
Yes, entertaining for people you’ve never met before can be a bit intimidating at first! But the real secret that our successful hosts know is that authenticity is the key. You can always tell when someone has put lots of effort and love into a meal, so it won’t go unnoticed. Just be yourself and let things flow!
Feel like you have what it takes to become an amazing dinner party host and join the Eatwith Community? Sign up now and Become an Eatwith Host!