Festive and chic

Is your company growing, with several recent achievements you want to highlight? Make it party time! Why not opt for a flamboyant theme, like a beach party with a decadent surf ‘n’ turf menu in the spotlight? Create a bar area for colourful cocktails and a fun new punch recipe. Decorate the area with Christmas lights, which are even more effective at dusk, and some patio heaters for those who like to stay warm. Arrange tables around the garden to encourage guests to mingle. And don’t forget the dance floor, with a DJ or good playlists, of course!

Warm and relaxed

Do you have a young team, with people who don’t know each other very well? A more casual, inviting atmosphere will bring them together. Think of decorating a long table with wildflowers and offering dishes that they can share. Background music and funny games will encourage conversation. If you make a speech, keep it short and positive, and be sure to highlight your team’s good points.

For a team that likes to work together

Do you have a well-established team, but a limited budget? Ask each team member what he or she would like to do to participate. Some people like to take charge of the BBQ or cocktail bar, while others prefer doing the music or decorations.

For a team that does not know each other well

If you don’t yet have a “tightly woven” team, it is better to hire professionals to do the serving, or simply take care of the kitchen and bar yourself, with the help of some friends.

Q3: Is your team very trendy or more conservative in their culinary tastes?

If you do not know your employees’ eating preferences, give them a short survey of two or three questions to get an idea of their tastes. You don’t want to serve lobster to guests allergic to seafood, or prepare steak and pork brochettes for vegetarians.

Grilled vegetables and light salads are popular in 2019

Integrating more vegetables into our diet is a widely shared concern. Bell peppers, asparagus, eggplant, Spanish onions and Portobello mushrooms are all BBQ classics. Feel free to invent your own twists on these standards, for example grilling corn on the cob, instead of boiling it. Don’t hesitate to add a few dips, a mix of crushed nuts or shaved Parmesan to enhance the taste of your grilled vegetables.

Do you prefer raw vegetables? A few light salads to accompany the main dishes, such as a celeriac remoulade or a salad of fresh garden tomatoes will colour the plates and delight the taste buds of your guests.

Cook fruits on the BBQ

Your barbecue should not only be used for cooking meats! Brush the melon slices with vegetable oil then, over high heat, grill the slices for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Grilled melon goes very well with feta or halloumi cheese, arugula, fennel or Kalamata olives. For a smoky-tasting guacamole, cut the avocado in half, lightly toast the halves, and you're done!

Juicy and tender grilled meats, cooked to perfection

The secret of grilling is the quality of the cuts, marinades and cooking. If you do not have time to marinate the meat, ask your butcher to do it for you. Here we give you some ideas for quick marinades you can do the same day. Use your phone as a timer when cooking for optimal results, all while keeping up with your conversations.

Tricks for a tender and tasty burger

Opt for a meat mixture containing at least 20% fat, avoid meat that is too lean because it will quickly become dry during cooking. Add salt, pepper and other ingredients of your choice (steak spices, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.). Avoid adding too much, however, as this will mask the taste of meat.

Gently shape the meatballs to prevent them from being too compact. Cook the meatballs over a very hot fire, never crush them with a spatula as they would lose their cooking juice which gives the meat its juiciness. Finally, all you have to do is garnish your hamburger with your favorite condiments and vegetables… and enjoy it!

Alexis’ choice: grilled octopus

Alexis noticed that people are afraid to cook octopus, yet it’s very simple! Here is my recipe for homemade grilled octopus:
1. Clean the octopus. If you’re not comfortable doing it, ask the fishmonger to do it for you (basically, you have to remove the beak from the octopus).
2. Place the octopus in a court bouillon (water, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, pepper and bay leaves) and simmer, covered, for an hour and a half. It is very, very important to maintain a low heat, no rolling boil! Then turn off the heat and let it cool in the broth for 30 minutes. 

3. Marinate the octopus in a mixture of olive oil, paprika, garlic, lemon zest and thyme. That’s it! 

4. To grill it, use a cooking mat or oil the grill well to prevent the skin from sticking. 

5. Serve the octopus with a Romesco sauce or crème fraîche with lemon, using a hot slate as a serving platter.”

Details that make all the difference

Remember to specify if children are invited. If they are, plan a menu suitable for kids (an assortment of raw vegetables and brochettes, for example), as well as outdoor games for them to play, including water games if it’s hot. If there is a swimming pool, mention it in the invitation so that guests can bring their swimsuits and towels. Hire a lifeguard for the day to create a secure environment. As for bathrooms, avoid discomforting your guests with chemical, or portable toilets. Instead, place simple directions to a bathroom in the basement or kitchen.

What if it rains?

If your house is big, and the number of guests allows it, you can simply redirect the festivities inside. If it’s a large-scale event, or more than 50 people, it is better to rent a marquee to ensure everything runs smoothly. You may not even have to install it if the sun shines brightly!