Holiday Cooking: Planning for Your Holiday Party Featuring Chef Lauren Covas

Chef Covas Catering is a creative, driven catering company with a devotion to seasonal ingredients and the production of quality, food-focused events.

Delicious scents of exquisitely cooked meals and baked goods permeate through the kitchen of your home, as friends and family, once again, join together to enjoy the holiday season. This year will you peruse through a cookbook, looking for the tastiest recipes? Or will you call for assistance from a professional caterer? Culinary expert, Chef Lauren Covas, shares some tips and tricks to help create that culinary masterpiece in time for the holidays, and how to pick the perfect caterer without breaking a sweat.

Be creative. 

Grab your spatula, colander, or frying pan, it’s time to cook! As you begin to toss in your ingredients and follow the instructions from a recipe, leave a little room for artistic innovation. Don’t worry if something doesn’t go quite right. Chef Covas says there is no such thing as a botched meal – you can make it work! Feel free to be creative and add an ingredient into the mix. Creativity is one of her favorite parts of being a chef. The versatility in cooking allows for the whole family to get involved too. Bringing the family and children into the kitchen for some quality bonding time is always a good way to spend the holidays, and makes for a quick cleanup after the cooking has finished.

Get everyone involved. 

Chef Covas, who has two boys of her own, says that bringing kids into the equation is a great way for them to expand their palate and become more open with trying new dishes. They learn the importance of keeping a clean cooking space, gain a sense of responsibility, and also an appreciation for food. Some favorite dishes that her children are most proud of are stuffed mushrooms, stuffed shells, and tacos. All great dishes to cook with the youngsters. Cooking together in the kitchen brings the whole family together as everyone learns a little bit more about how to create an excellently crafted homemade meal.

Budget your time. 

Still deciding what to cook for your guests, or how to budget your time in the kitchen? According to Chef Covas, a new food wave is emerging in the catering industry. The latest trend is a demand for small dishes and appetizers – similar to those served at a cocktail party. So, if you are cooking for a party of eight, or 20, this may be the way to go. Chef Covas recommends breaking up your cooking process into three days. After you have your grocery list together, the first day is used to shop for all of the ingredients, the second day is to make sure all of the prep work is completed, such as for cutting and rinsing your vegetables. On the third day, you can put everything in the oven and add any finishing touches. This method will help you organize your time so you can enjoy your party too!

Choose the right caterer.  

If you decide that cooking and cleaning isn’t the way to go for your gathering, hire a caterer! Chef Covas notes that the best caterer is detail oriented. Your caterer should communicate immediately and organize an in-depth meeting where you can discuss your needs for the event or party. Chef Covas provides her clients with a detailed consultation, where she travels to the site beforehand to help make the best decisions about the layout, menu, and timing of meals, which your caterer should also offer. The details are the most important aspects of planning an event, and the best way to communicate with your caterer about your needs is to be honest. Be upfront with them about your budget and what you want. According to Chef Covas, regardless of your budget, she can make it work. She prides herself in cooking for events just like she cooks for her family, deliciously.

So this holiday season, whether you are cooking a masterpiece, or simply hiring someone to create it for you, be sure to have fun and enjoy the time spent with your friends and family.

Lauren Covas, owner of Chef Covas Catering, is professionally trained by the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, VT and has worked with Julian Serrano at Picasso in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Ritz Carlton Las Vegas, Boca Raton Beach Club & Resort, and Frank DePasquale at Mare in Boston, MA. In May, she was named as the Chopped Champion from the Food Network’s show “Chopped.” To discover more about Chef Covas and her services click here.

Be sure to watch her in action as she performs a Facebook Live cooking demonstration at one of our model homes from Regency at Trotters Pointe, in NJ. For great holiday recipes, download our Toll Life Thanksgiving Cook Book.

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