When she’s a guest at someone else’s home, says Nivia Pina, co-owner and event planner for Merengue restaurant, if the host disappears into the kitchen for the night “it drives me crazy. If you invite me to your house and you have no time to talk to me, what am I doing here?” Pina’s advice for anyone throwing a party: “Don’t complicate yourself.” Merengue, a Dominican restaurant in Roxbury that Pina owns with her husband, Hector, has a catering arm, which she runs. So she knows a lot about parties. If you are cooking by yourself, the first step is to make a plan, she says. Parties that run smoothly are thrown by hosts who are realistic about their budget and time. We asked her and several other caterers for their strategies for hosting a great event at home.
1. SERVE ONE IMPRESSIVE DISH