Chef Michael’s party plan for all ages

How does a chef plan a New Year’s Eve party when both adults and children are involved? We asked Certified Angus Beef ® brand Chef Michael Ollier to describe his strategies for the last and first party of the year.

Q: Do you prefer appetizers, tapas-style meals or a complete dinner?

A: It depends on the venue. A full-on multi-course spread makes sense for two or three couples intent on a sit down meal. I endorse the high-end potluck where appetizers abound! Of course who wouldn’t want to nibble all night long with a tapas-style food table!

Q: Can you recommend a couple of recipes that could be prepared for the big night and/or made ahead and served during the party?

A: A couple of my favorites are Meatballs and Sirloin Steak Skewers with Chipotle Dipping Sauce. And as for side dishes or accompaniments — dips! dips! dips! You can’t go wrong with a variety of appetizers and tasty dips and sauces.

Q: In addition to great food, what makes for a successful party in your estimation?

A: It’s the whole package. A New Year’s Eve party should be food-focused with candles all over the house for an adult get-together. If it’s an adult party with kids in the house, make signature cocktails — one for adults as well as a kid-friendly, alcohol-free version that the little people will enjoy.

Q: How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve?

A: We’ll be headed to a kid-friendly get together. Potluck starts in the early evening and the kids enjoy the [unofficial] countdown complete with hats, noisemakers and confetti poppers at 9 p.m. (shhhh, most don’t know and the older kids that do love playing along). Children run wild through the house hyped up on cookies and adrenaline with the parents playing zone defense. The hosts are planning to show a child-friendly movie, have an air hockey tournament and maybe some Rock Band.  The traditional ringing in of the New Year at midnight happens for those still standing!

Check out our complete list of appetizer recipes for a homemade New Year’s Eve party. If celebrating to you means fine dining and not doing the dishes, check out Where to Buy for the best restaurants in your area!

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Jennifer Kiko

Jennifer lives on a rural route with her husband, kids, horses, cows and faithful Labs, Cash and Carter. She's an aspiring foodie and enjoys making good food for great friends. She lives next door to a winery, plays the piano, and admits to growing too many tomatoes.