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Summer Entertaining Tips From Your Favorite Chefs

Host stress-free summer gatherings with these tips and tricks.

Summer Entertaining Tips From Your Favorite Chefs

We asked the people who know food best to share their favorite tips and tricks when it comes to hosting summer gatherings! Kwame Onwuachi, Andrea Nguyen, Erin Clarke, and Joanne Lee Molinaro share their fool-proof recommendations that will make summer entertaining seamless.


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Kwame Onwuachi

Have the food ready!

Summer is a time for celebration. The weather is nice, the children are free, and work seems like an afterthought. But no event is official without food. So, you’ve agreed to host. Now, what do you do?! I think a grill is a perfect vessel for entertainment. A lot of people get caught up with cooking everything directly on the grill though. Make a lot of your items ahead of time, cook the ribs in the oven the day before, crisp your bacon for burgers the day before, caramelize your onions and cut your toppings before people arrive. The devil is in the details, and the success will be in preparations. Kiss these items on the grill and your guests will be kissing the chef! 

Check out Kwame Onwuachi’s latest cookbook, My America.


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Andrea Nguyen

Stay chill Viet style.

As temps rise, stay chill by keeping certain items in your fridge. Cold beverages are handy, but so are some Viet staples for quickly creating favorites. Here’s my plug-and-play strategy:  Have a jar of daikon and carrot pickle to turn practically anything toward Vietnam. Keep a stash of prewashed herbs (cilantro and mint are fine) in a tub partly filled with water and loosely cover with a produce bag and they’ll stay super perky for a week. (Don’t have space? Put the washed herbs in a ziptop bag with a paper towel.) Add summer standbys – cucumber and lettuce, and you’ve got the building blocks for rice paper rolls, banh mi, and rice noodle bowls. 

For a Viet-ish lunch, brunch, snack, or dinner any day, add grilled meat, seafood, and/or veggies. Leftovers are fair game too. Just whip up a batch of nuoc cham dipping sauce, if needed. Vietnamese food is versatile, with endless possibilities.

Check out Andrea Nguyen’s latest cookbook, Vietnamese Food Any Day, as well as her blog, Viet World Kitchen.


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Erin Clarke

Keep snacks and drinks on hand.

One of the best parts about entertaining in the summer (or I would argue, entertaining pretty much anytime) is that just because we call it a fancy-sounding name (“entertaining”) does not mean things need to be fancy. What we’re really talking about here is friends hanging out while eating and drinking, and what could be more low pressure (and more fun!) than that? I am all for impromptu get-togethers, especially since I live in Wisconsin where anytime the weather hits the 70s, the need to have friends over to share drinks on the patio is immediate. I always keep things on hand that doesn’t require me to go to the store: three or four different cheeses and two types of charcuterie (these can last in your fridge a long time, so don’t be afraid to stock up; plus, your life will be better if you have them around), along with crackers and easy munchies like kettle chips (everyone loves them and they taste great with cocktails, trust me) and roasted almonds. Keep a bottle of prosecco and rosé tucked in your fridge, along with some flavored sparkling water, and you can be the hostess or host with the mostess any night of the week!

Check out Erin Clarke’s latest cookbook, The Well Plated Cookbook, as well as her blog, Well Plated by Erin.


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Joanne Lee Molinaro

Have kimchi ready to go.

Cucumber kimchi was the first kimchi I ever learned to make because it’s so easy. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the pool of pickled Korean vegetables if you’re a little intimidated to try cabbage or radish kimchi. Not only that, it’s an excellent garnish for your salads, sandwiches, and, of course, rice. The lovely thing about [kimchi] is that you can make a bunch in advance (double or triple the recipe!) and serve it for weeks! My grandmother had a huge jar of cucumber kimchi in her fridge at all times that she used throughout the year. As a result, her bapsang (dining table) always delivered multiple different kimchis at every meal!

Excerpted from The Korean Vegan Cookbook by Joanne Lee Molinaro. Copyright © 2021 by Joanne Lee Molinaro. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Check out Joanne Lee Molinaro’s latest cookbook, The Korean Vegan Cookbook, as well as her TikTok, @thekoreanvegan.


Add My America to bookshelf Add My America to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
My America
By Kwame Onwuachi and Joshua David Stein
Hardcover $35.00
Also available from:
Add Vietnamese Food Any Day to bookshelf Add Vietnamese Food Any Day to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
Vietnamese Food Any Day
By Andrea Nguyen
Hardcover $24.99
Also available from:
Add The Well Plated Cookbook to bookshelf Add The Well Plated Cookbook to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
The Well Plated Cookbook
By Erin Clarke
Hardcover $30.00
Also available from:
Add The Korean Vegan Cookbook to bookshelf Add The Korean Vegan Cookbook to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
The Korean Vegan Cookbook
By Joanne Lee Molinaro
Hardcover $35.00
Also available from: