As a restaurateur, chef and star of Giada at Home, Giada De Laurentiis knows how to host an epic party. The 49-year-old Food Network personality comes from a long line of incredible Italian entertainers, so you bet we picked her brain for hosting tips when we recently chatted with her about her Nutella partnership.
Sure, we expected her ultimate party-throwing hacks to include pasta and a great bottle (or three) of wine, but we definitely weren’t expecting her choice of footwear—or total lack thereof—to be a factor. But, once she explains it, her tactic makes total sense. Just like De Laurentiis’s three other tips for throwing a soirée for the ages.
1. Prep, Prep, Prep
First and foremost, De Laurentiis suggests “prepping as much as possible in advance, so you can actually hang out with your friends.” Bonus points if it’s a little indulgent.
“Baked pasta is one of my go-tos when entertaining and feeding a crowd,” she says. “It’s something you can make in advance, probably even the day before, and just bake when your guests get there so it makes the whole house smell good.”
2. Keep It Casual and Go Barefoot
Now here’s where things really get interesting. De Laurentiis told PureWow, “I usually will go barefoot in my house so that it feels homier and a little more inviting.” We’d never thought of that, but it’s so true. The whole atmosphere feels a little more relaxed when you walk into someone’s home and the host has kicked off her shoes and encourages you to do the same. “That’s the difference between inviting people to your home and meeting them in a restaurant,” she says. We might add that it’s also more comfortable.
3. A Self-Serve Bar Breeds New Friendships
“Setting up a bar where people have to make their own drinks is a really great way to let people get to know each other a little bit,” De Laurentiis suggests. She personally gravitates toward an Aperol Spritz or a Campari Spritz. As she explained, a serve-yourself spritz bar is “fun, pretty to look at and engages people. It also shares a little bit of my Italian heritage with them.”
4. Get People Talking with an Unexpected Ingredient
Last but not least, De Laurentiis swears by surprising ingredients to get guests mingling: “I like to use different ingredients, like a Calabrian chili, in my food—things that are conversation starters and are ingredients that people don’t know as well but sort of pack a punch and make them feel the need to ask questions and get engaged.”
Well, on that note… *Kicks shoes off*