Summer is in full swing, which means nearly every outdoor gathering warrants a barbecue. In pursuit of a laid-back, lip-smacking menu, we turned to Guy Turland, the Australian chef-cum-surfer who proves that healthy dishes can be chic, flavorful, and fun. With Bondi Harvest—the name of his popular café near Sydney’s famed beach, its new outpost in Santa Monica, and his cookbook—Turland channels a relaxed Aussie attitude with every recipe. "The Sydney beach vibe is all about a balanced lifestyle," he says.
That means cooking with garden-fresh ingredients but also keeping stress at bay with a good dose of pre-party prep. His tactics include chopping salad ingredients well in advance and making plenty of food: "More is more! You can always send your friends home with their lunch for the next day," he adds. Sounds pretty "Yew!" to us—you know, Aussie surfer slang for "Awesome!" From styling a super-chill atmosphere to pouring the perfect beverage, read on for a foolproof guide on how to throw a cookout for the ages.
1. Send a Nautical Invite
The hand-drawn waves and rope motif on this monochromatic note (from 25¢/online invitation; paperlesspost.com/instyle) feel just right for a casual barbecue featuring fish as the main course.
2. Set the Scene
Nothing complements a laid-back summer menu quite like a super-chill tablescape. Channel a relaxed, beachy vibe by pairing effortlessly chic monochromatic hues (no need to worry about clashing colors) with clever accents, like hand-carved wooden serving boards (from $105; lostine.com) and nautical neon elements. Get the full breakdown here.
3. Mix a Festive Cocktail
Nothing says "summer" like a nice cold pitcher of sangria. And what flavors could encapsulate the season better than strawberry, basil, and rosé? This easy two-step recipe courtesy of chef Helene Henderson, owner of the celeb-favorite SoCal eatery Malibu Farm, brings a bright, fruity twist to the classic, and doubles down on the booze with a splash of brandy and orange liqueur. Get the recipe here.
4. Heat up the Grill
As you contemplate a laid-back summer menu that'll wow your future dinner guests, why not channel your inner Aussie and throw some fish on the barbie? These delicious grilled fish sliders are the perfect guilt-free alternative to red meat. "They're quick and simple to make, and they take one hand to eat, so they're ideal for parties," Turland says. Get the recipe here.
5. Whip up a yummy salad
Sick of basic salads? In this easy-to-make recipe, "every individual ingredient shines," says Turland. "The fennel is sweet and crunchy, the kale gives hints of bitterness, and the creamy chickpeas balance out the sweetness from the dates." Get the full how-to here.
6. Serve a delicious dessert
Switching on your oven may be the last thing you want to do when the temps are high, but this delicious tarte tatin is simply worth it. "It changed my life," says Turland. "I love how the fruit juices sink into the caramel." Get the recipe here.
7. Send 'em home with something to remember
Conjure up memories of summer camp BBQs with old-school woven friendship bracelets. Leave several out in a glass bowl and send pals home with a vivid reminder of your feel-good fête.
For more summer entertaining tips, pick up the August issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.