Entertaining Tips from Carla Hall


To help you prep for a stellar Beard Awards viewing party, we tapped the chef, television personality, and host of our 2015 Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, Carla Hall, for some sage advice. Below, the former caterer shares her top tips.


Turn Down the Volume


I want background music at a cocktail party, not something that will take over the conversations. The playlist depends on the crowd you’re entertaining, but jazz is always a good place to start.


Make It Ahead


I like to prep and cook as much as I possibly can in advance. I want to enjoy my guests! Plus, as a recovering caterer, I can’t help but think that way. Even the hot... Read more >

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What We're Reading: March 11, 2015


Turn your dinner party into a fine dining experience with these plating tips. [Food 52


Fuchsia Dunlop shares her favorite Chinese cookbooks, as well as the regional cuisines she thinks we should keep an eye out for. [Serious Eats


Lonely bananas remain fresh for longer. [Lifehacker


Stop complaining about your grocery bill: we currently spend less than ten percent of our income on food. [NPR


The new app Foodie Shares is trying to be the AirBnB of home-cooked... Read more >

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Throwback Thursday: Beard House Entertaining Issues


It seems these days that the minute Halloween is crossed off our calendar, the whole world springs into holiday party mode. With that tsunami of soirées in mind, we've reached into the archives for some lighthearted tips and tricks for surviving the holiday season. And for those adamant that Halloween be given its due, we’ll concede these are some truly terrifying party scenarios.

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The Bookshelf: What’s a Hostess to Do?

What’s a Hostess to Do? by Susan Spungen (Artisan Books, 2013)


Want to entertain flawlessly? So do we, so we enlisted recipe developer, food stylist, and author Susan Spungen to share five tips from her new book, What’s a Hostess to Do?, an invaluable resource chock-full of guidance, recipes, and helpful illustrations to help you become a party-throwing pro.—JBF Editors



Make It Ahead

Unless you’re a very confident cook, avoid last-minute cooking at all costs. A frantic or absent chef does not put guests at ease. For many of us, salads and stews are saviors.


Cook What You Know

The day of your party is not the time to practice something fancy that you’ve never even tasted, let alone cooked. Your tried-and-true pot roast may not seem exciting to you, but a solid dish done well is always better than a flashy one gone awry.


Think Like a Chef

Putting all of your ingredients in place... Read more >

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Recipe: Wild Mushroom, Shoyu, and Goat Cheese Truffles

Recipe for wild mushroom, shoyu, and goat cheese truffles, adapted by the James Beard Foundation


These mushroom and risotto–based truffles may look like regular old fritters, but one bite exposes their umami-rich cores of shoyu and goat cheese. (Shoyu is just the name for soy sauce in Hawaii and Japan, so if you have a bottle of soy sauce in your pantry, you're covered.) Enlist some friends to help you churn out a few batches at your holiday gathering.


Get the recipe here.

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