Celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue and his wife are the proud owners of Billy Kart Kitchen, a culinary delight located in the quiet streets of Annerley. From Asian to Italian, Ben loves to cook a variety of cuisines and rotates the Friday night menus every couple of weeks to touch on different cultures.
Most of us dread the idea of entertaining guests because of all the stress involved, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Ben is no stranger to entertaining a crowd and says the key is in the planning. “I like to do as much prepping, cooking, mixing, organising before guests arrive. This way, you will have the chance to spend time with your guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen, running around.”
"Another trick is to get the appetisers sorted also ahead of guests arriving. If they have a drink in hand and something to snack on, everyone is happy and the pressure of having to serve up the next meal to schedule is suddenly reduced. I like to keep the appetisers simple and light like olives and dips."
He also says that serving up foods that can be cooked whole such as fish, pigs and crabs is a simple way to satisfy your guests without overloading your kitchen.
"It is far more spectacular in appearance and a great way for everyone to dig in and help themselves. Furthermore it is easier to plate and also clean up," He says.
“Keep it simple and have a central serving station so people can help themselves. It also creates a great friendly atmosphere, reduces the hassle of plating up lots of dishes and people can choose whatever they please,"
If you’re wondering what else you can use to create the perfect meals for your guests, three ingredients Ben can’t live without are; eggs (including duck and quail), good quality oil and good spices. “I find they always add that little bit extra to any meal,” he says.
That still leaves one thing that we all hate about entertaining – cleaning up!
“The bottom line is you must clean as you go,” says Ben, “Doing five minutes of cleaning here and there always seems much more manageable than spending hours cleaning at the end of the party. Having good cleaning products definitely helps make life easier too. I find Fairy Platinum liquid and tablets are the best, cutting through grease in just one wash!”
Head to our recipes page to find a recipe for Ben's crunchy summer salad.