Gail Simmons's dinner party philosophy mirrors her thoughts on cake pops: "I could never really get into the cake pop. I get its appeal: it's fast, it's a bite, you can feel good about it and not have a whole slice of cake. . . but I say have a whole slice of cake."
We also chatted with the culinary expert and Top Chef judge about her entertaining style and one thing was clear: she's all about no guilt, no stress. So how does she pull it off? To make sure your next dinner party is a piece of cake, Simmons is divulging some of the cooking and hosting secrets that she's spent a lifetime learning.
Throw Your Party in a Suitable Space
Simmons just redid her entire home so that she could throw better parties! "It's a great house for entertaining. The main floor is completely open. Living room, family room, dining room, kitchen is sort of one giant space. You can see everywhere. So it's a great house to celebrate in."
If you can’t re-do your apartment in time for Thanksgiving, then at least make sure your guests have plenty of room to feel comfortable in—even if it means trimming the guest list. You want everyone to have a spot to lounge in. You know you’ve succeeded if guests adopt Simmons' ideal posture: "I want guests to be cross-legged on the couch with a glass of wine in their hands. At all times."
Make Sure Your Outfit Fits the Mood of the Party
According to Simmons, your party outfit should reflect the mood of your event: "My entertaining style is casual and comfortable so generally, I'm wearing my comfortable skinny jeans, I'm almost always barefoot, and wearing a top that I know I can cook in and not worry if something spills on [it]. I never want to be fussy, but still want to feel comfortable and pretty."
Simmons's beauty routine when she’s playing hostess is just as low-key. "I almost always put my hair twisted up," she says. "I wear it in ponytails all the time when I'm cooking. I want it up and out of my face when I’m in the kitchen."
"I want guests to be cross-legged on the couch with a glass of wine in their hands." —@GailSimmons
Don’t Overextend Yourself
Gail's number one rule for throwing a dinner party: make sure you’re having fun. "I’m never going to overreach and do something that isn't me. I think that everyone should do that for dinner parties," says the star. "I want entertaining to come naturally or else it's not fun and then, why do it?"