Showcase menu with interactive course(s)

Joined Dec 15, 2016
I've been cooking a few relatively adventurous things for dinner parties recently, heavily utilising my sous vide, espuma gun, thermomix, ice cream machine etc etc, to do some elegant dishes that have impressed my friends.

I have a group coming for dinner in their late teens, who have been begging for me to cook for them for a while. As usual I'm browsing my cookbooks and the internet, as well as chatting with my local suppliers, to see which recipes and menu plan works best (I'm a big fan of an amuse bouche, starter, main, dessert, and petit fours sort of style menu).

What I'd really like, given the 18 year old mindset, is to do something a bit more fun and engaging, at least for one of the courses. I remember, for example, watching Heston on TV serve a squid dish, suspended over a bowl of smoking hay with a tiny pin prick allowing the smoke through - added to the whole experience. I suppose I could do that old stalwart of 'assemble your chicken fajita yourself' but I'm hoping with the power of ChefTalk, we might be able to come up with something less ordinary!

Who's got any ideas?
Joined Nov 5, 2007
Some years ago we had a niece and a nephew, along with their future spouses stay with us for a weekend of skiing. Saturday night was pizza night. They had to make their own pizza, starting with a ball of dough. It was fun watching the two young couples interact during the whole process from rolling out the dough, selecting which toppings and how much of each to deciding when it was done.

So maybe a taco bar where they make the tortillas from a ball of dough might be fun.

Joined Apr 3, 2008
I like doing pizza parties as well. Everyone gets their own dough ball and makes their pizza however they want. All I have to do is prep the dough and toppings and set up the kitchen so it's easy for everyone to make their pizza. However, one time I invited a couple where the man was super excited and the woman was horrified that I was making her cook. She wouldn't touch anything and just asked her date to make her pizza. It was a little silly. Wrong crowd I guess.

You have to know what your guests will like. If I was coming I wouldn't enjoy any of that sous vide smoky Blumenthal tricks. Not my thing for sure. I appreciate plated courses, but I'm happy with a family style buffet.
Joined Feb 17, 2010
Squid suspended over a bowl of smoking hay sounds a bit adventurous for eighteen year olds. Unless they were raised in this type of environment I'd say no way.

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