Chefzillas of the world unite – failproof tips for surviving your guests

IMG_2718Thanks to all your comments on Confessions of Chefzilla . Suddenly I realized that  I am not the only one to go completely overboard when I invite guests. Not the only one to   prance around the kitchen like a show pony,  mentally waving my hands in the air and saying “TA DA” – look what I made FOR YOU! Drum roll! Not alone in whipping myself into a frenzy and using every extra minute to make up a batch of bread and extra biscuits, to decide I need organic strawberries,  because the ones I bought, that are fine, are just not quite totally good enough. And lastly, not the only one to send my partner out of the house on a quest to find an ingredient I am sure I cannot cook without at the last minute. Now,  thanks to all of you, the next time my guests leave and my significant other walks into the post-guest the kitchen, lamenting in the face of what looks a little like a post-nuclear scene,  or a painting,  or say a  Jackson Pollock installation, I can direct him to the internet and to the following comments from fellow Chefzillas, and now you can too, in the certain knowledge : that you are not alone. Read on for Chefzillas of the world/ Chefzilla in the kichen/Chefzillas tips for surviving guests:

Chefzillas of the world:

Chef Julianna at Foodie on board admits to being a foodie that goes overboard when guests are coming! LOL! You are the chefzilla!! I love this post, because now I realize that I am not alone when I entertain!! Maybe we should start a chefzilla club! Oh my, I am going to read your rules before I have friends over this weekend!

You sound just about as OCD as I am……in the same frenzied state I will also use the crystal and vintage glass and porcelain that I love, none of which can go into the dishwasher. Usually looks like a bus fell over in the kitchen which I then need to clean from top to bottom before the guests are there. I exhaust myself I tell ye. Lovely post. I identify every step of the way! Flippenblog

I couldn’t stop laughing… it all sounds soooo very familiar! 🙂 Gather and Graze

I find I get carried away too, trying to do too much when I have guests. And then I’m a mess and exhausted by the time they come 😀  The seasoned traveler

Birgerbird focused on the positives: Your post made me laugh so hard and the answer to most of your questions is yes! It can be real chaos at times in the kitchen, but look what came out of yours! It’s gorgeous and looks delicious. I wish I actually had some to eat!

Kaila from a Glutenfree life pointed out that some of my resolutions are not targeting the right area, making me realise again that resolutions are pointless for me: I love how you shared your resolutions with us (for the kitchen!). I especially like how #6 states that you won’t think it will take little time, not that you won’t be making 10 antipasti from scratch again.

And sinfully tempting also admitted to having Chefzilla moments.  Her husband refers to her as a devil in the kitchen, apparently because she makes him food that makes him expand in directions unimagined maybe there is another reason in there 🙂

I’m sure I look exactly the same way when I’m preparing to feed guests. Fantastic vows you’ve made, they gave me quite the chuckle as I can relate to your experiences”

Selma’s table, she of the fitting tagline, life doesnt have to be perfect to be wonderful: This has made me laugh – with you of course, as I too, have been guilty of taking on too much in too short a space of time. Your dinner party sounds lovely though even if your guests had to stop and have a coffee to afford you some extra time – genius!! Poli adds: this was hardly polite though..

indusinternationalkitchen : Your confessions and resolutions sound familiar! I am the same way – sometimes going overboard and too ambitious when i have folks over!

saucygander you sound just like me when I plan dinner parties!! Imagine we planned and cooked one together? The guests would have to eat 7 courses with at least 3 desserts, with lots of good champagne of course! On second thoughts, wouldn’t it be fun…..? 🙂 I shudder to think of what the kitchen would look like…

andmorefood: I am so guilty of one and two. despite everything, you sound like you’ve had a good time and a good meal! and also, overfeeding is loving!


Stories of misdemeanors past: Chefzillas in the kitchen:

Spice in the city shares a fun moment: He he he! I’ve been guilty of many of the things you listed above, more than I like to admit! Like this one time, where guest had already arrived for a BBQ and we realised we had no coal at home!! I make promises to myself too and then forget all about them! The cake looks amazing though 🙂 

Jhuls refused to simplify her menu and got up at 4 am: There was a time that friends are coming for brunch (around 11am) and I was definite that they will stay until night, so I have to cook for brunch, lunch, snack and early dinner. I bought everything I need the day before, but can you believe that I started cooking around 4am? Why? Because I insisted that I can manage everything, that I didn’t need help. So I did all the slicing stuff and all the preparations – everything, and that includes cleaning up! I don’t want to look a kitchen mess when they arrive so I have to finish cooking everything. I cooked 3 main dish, a cake and another dessert. Phew! After that I also made promises to myself. 😀  Jhuls

 Chefzilla’s tips for surviving guests:

So to end this on a wise note – I leave you with 3 top recommendations from three wise women on how to invite guests and enjoy the whole process, in summary these are:

1) Plan ahead

2) take enough time to spend making the meal

3) Plan ahead (did I already say that?) and make dishes you can make ahead ahead….

Professional chef and wise woman Mimi learned from her mother and now keeps herself sane and her relationships intact as follows:

chef mimi My mother was the kind to do so much work in the kitchen, mostly at the last minute, and sometimes during dinner still, that she would end up being mad at the rest of us sitting at the table and eating. Then she’d yell at us cause she was slaving away in the kitchen. It was really awful, so I vowed never to be like that. I’m a huge planner, which does come in handy for catering or having your own company. Plan plan plan. I want to have fun at my own party, so that’s my priority! The food’s still good, it’s just that I’ve made most of it ahead of time!”

Kaila511  Hmmm, well I’m a new cook, but if I were to make a kitchen resolution, it would be that I spend more time preparing each meal (rather than rushing half my meal preparations and spending too much time on the other half). I’m currently working on figuring out how my time is best allocated out in the kitchen!

 Jhuls I promised myself that if I decide to make 5 kinds of dishes, I will make sure that the others can be prepared the day before the event and I will make sure that I will have enough time to prepare. And yes, I did keep them. 😉

13 thoughts on “Chefzillas of the world unite – failproof tips for surviving your guests

  1. We don’t entertain often, so every occasion is very special. One day, just a few hours before our guests were to arrive for a splendid lunch and meandering walk through our gardens, our water supply stopped. It wasn’t the well – it was full. It wasn’t the pump – it was working. It wasn’t our faucet. The plumber came. He gave us a number to call.

    Down our country road came an enormous backhoe and dug a trench where the pipes from the well to the house lay. They’d worn away and the plumber and my husband replaced them, this time in thick conduits. Operation over, they buried the pipes and the backhoe driver smoothed over the trench.

    We washed up and continued preparing lunch. Our guests arrived, beautifully dressed, happy and hungry. They had a wonderful lunch and admired the gardens — and could not believe when we told them what took place just before they arrived.

  2. You are so funny and full of fun poli. High five for that. I go over the overboard and fret and plan and put a checklist in front of me including the dish, their ingredients, their serving bowls and if they need to be in refrigerator or in oven. Call me crazy now. Always extend my menu with the last minute additions. Hah!

    • yes we both know that that isn’t how we are made 🙂 – the joy of silver ware, crystal and fine china is just going to be your downfall next time, and I have suspected early onset alzeheimers for this type of resolution which means by the time I next have guests I will have forgotten the recommendations…sadly. I did recently have a guest, I left work at 7.20pm went to the shops, decided what to make while there, was meant to meet her at mine at 7.30 texted her to say it would be 7.45 ETA, arrived at 8pm (this is Switzerland where this kind of thing is NOT acceptable, even thought the fried was not swiss and I made her a simple dinner of mixed mesclun salad and lambs lettuce with baguette slices topped with goats cheese sprinkled with olive oil and grilled in the oven, followed by tuna fish, and scallops served with a salsa of green plums (i made that up that night, need to post the recipe) and baby potatoes boiled in their skins, and followed it with fresh strawberries unhulled and some very nice biscuits from the shop……2 wines – one a white bordeaux, the other a rosé Domaine Jas d’Esclans cuvée du Loup – vin rosé 2013 – not that you would drink anything that wasnt from around you, would you, best to stay local… anyhow I considered the above menu a triumph over myself as iI prepared while my friend sat and watched, all salads were prewashed, lazy me, and i didnt offer desert, but the food was lovely and the weather was lovely and we sat outside. And I feel that most people still wouldnt consider this a low maintenance meal. Happy rest of Sunday Poli

  3. Well, I guess you hit a sore spot with a lot of us! I think I always want to add one more “touch” to make a meal more special when I’m feeling insecure– and I do the same thing going on a trip– run out to buy one more thing to wear just in case I need it– It’s nice to know when to say “enough!” and then relax.

    and where is the beautiful table in the photo set? so inviting…

    • Hi Rhonda -thanks for commenting – it seems we are all very similar – one of the golden rules in life is knowing when to relax and say ENOUGH….it is really very hard to do and I sympathize!
      The dinner table is set in Pavia in the Antica Trattoria Ferrari – about 30 minutes outside Milano 🙂 –

  4. I have to go and read the Chefzilla post (a must read sounds like it!) but my takeaway is mostly that I’d LOVE to be a dinner guest of yours and also a number of our other food blogging community at large! What a wonderful post!

    • Hello my dear Fig and Quince 🙂 – thank you very much for that lovely comment, I felt the same when I read what our fellow bloggers wrote, it sounds like there are many wonderful dinners cooked and shared with love all around the world! Thanks for your kindness and continued visiting!

  5. I was that hostess with the mostess…. pacing with excitement at the airport, making special cakes, biscuits and snacks for our house guests, tour guide extraordinaire and then by the time they’d leave I’d be in a heap. These days I’m much more likely to hand them the taxi number and order some dishes to be delivered. So glad I found your lovely blog. Love your about page especially….many overlapping memories.

    • oh hello Sally, I love that – the hostess with the mostess – I love how you describe your past with guests, I truly relate to this, feel like I need to offer something spectacular, and I am told no we are happy just to sit and sip a glass of wine and share time together – last night a friend missed a plane and stayed over, I would have cooked, she sat us on the balcony told me to knock myself out ordering takeaway, we lit candles and watched night fall as we ate our way through wonderful thai food, has to be one of the best evenings I have had in ages! I did nothing, the kitchen stayed virginal and it was all just about being together. Lovely. Who knows I might yet follow in your footsteps for planned guests!

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