Dine off at the dinner table: how Downton Abbey has inspired a new breed of competitive cooks

A new guide on how to be the perfect hostess includes advice from Debrett's that will help make your next dinner party a night to remember...

‘All’s fair in love, war and hosting at home. It’s a candlelit battlefield,’ according to a new guide to dinner parties from Samsung and etiquette bible Debrett’s.

The guide, The Definitive Guide to Entertaining at Home, has been created to mark the launch of Samsung’s new RF24 fridge-freezer and includes tips on how to be a winning host.

Apparently TV programmes such as Come Dine with Me and Downton Abbey mean that we’re all getting a bit more competitive when it comes to having a few friends over for dinner.

‘More people are choosing to entertain friends and family at home and to re-create dishes inspired by celebrity chefs and cooking programmes,’ says Lana Sanleandro, Head of Marketing at Samsung.

So what does it take to be the perfect hostess? First up, always greet guests with a drink: ‘Warm welcome, cold champagne cocktails. Not the other way around.’

Other top tips include preparing dishes in advance, choosing appetisers that need less cooking (for more time to be an attentive host) and using a well practised recipe for the main. Oh, and do keep the drinks topped up.

When it comes to dessert, choose one that balances the rest of the meal – so if you’ve served a delicate main, indulge guests with a decadent pudding.

‘A well organised host will plan everything from the guest list and table arrangements, to the menu and timings,’ says Jo Bryant, Debrett’s Etiquette Adviser.

‘Being a good host is about being aware of all of the guests all of the time, ensuring that they are well looked after and having a wonderful time.’

Ok, got it. One step closer to being a domestic goddess. With these pointers, we’re sure anyone could pull off a dinner party to remember.

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