Royal Chef Mark Flanagan isn't the only one busy preparing a party for Saturday's Royal Wedding. Though we're definitely not hosting anywhere near the 600 guests that will be at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's lunchtime reception, we could still use some help planning the menus and decor for our viewing parties this weekend. Celebrity chef and Queer Eye's resident food expert Antoni Porowski recently teamed up with Strongbow Cider to come to the rescue and after watching him share practical recipes, useful cooking tips, and a soothing gaze throughout the entire first season of the Netflix hit, there's really no one we trust more to guide us through the process of throwing a perfect Royal Wedding shindig. From which dishes to serve to what to ask guests to bring, Porowski has the answers to all our party planning questions, and even offers a crucial tip to anyone attending a viewing party.
On Balancing Viewing & Entertaining
Because Royal Wedding viewing parties are going to be taking place "so shockingly early," as Porowski tells Refinery29, and because you'll want to be watching as much of it as possible, the Queer Eye star suggests serving low-maintenance dishes. "As with any entertaining, I think it’s super important to have as much done ahead of time as you possibly can. Making something like a shakshuka, for example, where you can roast it in the oven or make a tomato sauce with crumbled sausage and eggs that’s all in one dish. You put it in the oven, take it out, and it’s ready to go," he says. "Or, if you want to go even easier, something like devilled eggs, which is still super breakfast-y but don’t require you to be standing by the stove. You want to be glued to the TV. You want to be spending time with your guests. I think that’s sort of like a golden rule for entertaining."
On Selecting A Suitably Subtle Theme
Though Porowski thinks a heavily themed viewing party could be fun if it reflects the type of person you are, he suggests giving subtle nods to the Royal Family and British culture in your food and how it's served. One recipe he thinks fits the bill is canapés made with egg salad and marmite. "If you take a bit of marmite, so paying homage to the Brits, and make a simple egg salad, which again you could make ahead of time, and put them on toasted brioche points, you can make beautiful, cute canapés. Just adding that marmite layer in there adds a really nice salty, tangy, umami, weird factor, and in something that’s as precious as a little canapés, which is kind of as tea party as it gets." Porowski says this is a snack he actually used to make in college, so it should be easy enough to whip up early in the morning before guests arrive, especially if most of the prep is done the night before.
In addition to serving snacks that have a British twist, you can also represent the theme through the dishes you use. Porowski recommends checking out Strongbow's limited edition Royal Rosé Teacup Set (a brand he's partnered with) designed by Stanley Chow. "What I like about it is that there’s something precious and very British about it," he explains.
On What To Ask Guests To Bring (& The Very Best Host Or Hostess Gifts!)
If your guests are inquiring as to what they can bring, Porowski suggests instructing them to stop by the bakery. "When I cook, I unfortunately very often forget about dessert, and that’s usually what I assign to the people who are coming over," he says. "And, it’s spring, so there are plenty of fruit tarts and kind of stuff available, so it’s a good excuse to ask your guests for help. It doesn’t really have to be homemade. Homemade is always super appreciated, but you can also go somewhere a little more chic or a really nice little pastry shop and just bring something like eclairs to cut up in pieces and have on a tray."
Oh, and just because you're a guest and not the one throwing the party doesn't mean you're off the hook completely. Since British culture is all about being proper, don't show up at your host's doorstep empty-handed. According to Porowski, when giving host or hostess gifts, you should always think about the specific person and what he or she might like. His favourite go-to gift, however, is a kitchen towel. "I’m obsessed with kitchen towels because I destroy them after a few uses, and I use them to pick up any mess. A kitchen towel is always appreciated because it’s something we can all use, but we don’t always think to buy for ourselves."