A dinner party for $10 a guest is possible with good planning, foodies say

A dinner party for $10 a guest is possible with good planning, foodies say

Entertaining at home instead of shelling out for pricey restaurant meals is often the advice given

Tara Noland hosts dinner parties at her Calgary home at least once a month, plus for almost every Super Bowl and much more often over the holidays.

Entertaining at home instead of shelling out for pricey restaurant meals is often the advice given to people looking to reign in their spending. A full-blown dinner party with multiple courses, decorative centrepieces and signature cocktails can seem costly, but food bloggers for whom hosting is old hat say it’s possible to do for about $10 a person.

“I think planning ahead is key,” said Noland, who just celebrated the seven-year anniversary of her blog, Noshing with the Nolands.

The Calgarian starts to think about her events weeks in advance.

“I think one of the worst things is having a dinner party and you’re not participating in it because you’re in the kitchen cooking.”

Preparation can also result in savings if you scour for sales at grocery stores or even dollar stores for decoration.

Frozen turkey or chicken that can be slow cooked is easy to snag at a discount, said Idriss Amraoui, a 29-year-old in Montreal who runs the blog Broke Foodies.

He also suggests using cheaper and versatile frozen vegetables that can be whipped into a starter, like soup.

It’s not necessary to do multiple courses though, and appetizers are often just a bonus when Amraoui hosts.

Entertainers can avoid being saddled with the whole food bill by asking guests to contribute a specific dish or turning the event into a potluck. In the event of the latter, Amraoui stresses guests must be aware it’s a potluck before they’re asked to commit.

“I wouldn’t tell you, ‘Come have dinner at my house,’ and then tell you, ‘Well, can you bring your potato salad?’” he said.

Lisa Bolton’s secret to affordable entertaining is creative grazing boards. The food stylist selects one killer cheese and loads of seasonal vegetables. She’ll slice a fresh baguette and one artisanal salami into thin pieces to make them last longer.

Even dessert can come atop a board. Rather than buying a whole cake or baking something elaborate, Bolton opts to set out some chocolate bars, strawberriesand other treats.

A beautifully crafted board also eliminates the pressure for decor, she said, as it functions as a centrepiece.

If hosts want to serve a full meal instead, she suggests looking at brunch instead of dinner.

“Eggs are pretty affordable,” she said, though she tends to gravitate to a big bagel spread.

The biggest budget item though, depending on the crowd, may be alcohol. All three foodies estimated they could pull off a budget-conscious dinner party for $10 a head or less with the caveat of imbibing coming at an extra cost.

They diverge on the appropriate hosting etiquette to tackle that problem.

“If you’re hosting, you’re hosting,” said Bolton of her mindset. She tends to stick any bottle of wine brought by a guest into her cellar for future use.

Instead, she’ll serve one bespoke cocktail that can be diluted with juice to make more.

Noland also creates a cocktail that she’ll serve guests right away, but said it’s OK to designate the event bring-your-own-beer or give guests inquiring what they can bring a specific type of alcohol, like a bottle of white wine.

When Amraoui hosts, he finds it important to have at least one bottle of wine on hand, but said the expectation shouldn’t be for the host to supply an open bar.

“I think that the guests usually without even asking will bring a bottle or two and you will end up with more alcohol than you need at the end of the evening,” he said.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

‘We Are All Beautiful’ by Elise Cole and ‘The Modern Thrall’ by Enigye (Happy) Amarkah (from left) are two of the pieces featured in VIU’s Anti-Racism Arts Festival. (Images courtesy the artists)
Vancouver Island University holds first Anti-Racism Arts Festival

Three-day online event to feature visual arts, performance, film and poetry

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Most Read