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In Gastronomy we trust! How to host a Winter dinner party

In Gastronomy we trust! How to host a Winter dinner party

The saying: “We eat with our eyes first,” rings true for Sydney’s most renowned, award-winning event caterer, Gastronomy.

If you don’t believe us, a quick glance at their Facebook or Instagram pages is all the testimony you will need. It is this approach to the art and science of food that is what sets them apart form others in their industry.

Every event, whether it’s an intimate dinner for 15 people, a vegan wedding for 200 people or a corporate event for 1,000 people, begins in the same way for the team led by owner and founder Miccal Cummins since 1998.

For the company’s Creative Director, Marcus Longinotti, eating is not just a feast for the eyes but a feast for the senses too. He begins to plan every event the same way, visually. Thankfully he has a team of restaurant chefs to help bring his creative dreams – whether they be inspired by a colour, shape or mood – to life.

“Our head chefs work tirelessly with their teams to make our vision a culinary reality,” explains Longinotti. “The art side very much comes from Miccal and I and our Executive Chef Cyril and Head Chef George put it into practice in the kitchen.” Hence the melting pot of art and science that the team is known for when it comes to food and events.

A fusion of modern pieces and contemporary presentation with rustic styling and seasonal ingredients is harnessed in each and every menu created. But it’s the small personal touches that you really notice, from quaint collector’s spoons given out with desserts that make you feel at home to the ingenious way they transform tired-food stations into a thing of risotto-bar-beauty.

In this exciting time, were a resurgence for all things food-related has taken over, reinvention is a necessity and Gastronomy have this down to a tee, creating that instafood moment time after time.

Here Longinotti offers his top tips for hosting a Winter dinner party:

gastronomy cover pic

Theme it up

The devil really is in the detail for Longinotti. When entertaining at home he likes to continue a theme from the food to the table and it’s these small touches that help to create an unforgettable experience. “If we’re cooking with lamb and with lavender then I’ll continue that theme onto the table and plate settings to achieve that multi-sensory experience. Food and smell are such memory evokers.”

Spoil your guests

It’s worth making a fuss of your guests! “Whenever I’m entertaining at home I always like my guests to feel that they’ve been spoilt.” Go that extra mile, make sure people are always, full and well looked after and having an exceptional experience all the way round.

Be well stocked

This goes without saying really but no one wants to find themselves in the middle of a dinner party and rushing to the shops for more wine – or even worse, resort to opening up the gifted wines brought to you by your guests! “Make sure you’ve got enough wine! The same applies for any other drinks or nibbles too, no one wants to duck out when it’s cold.”

Go for luxury

More is more for a Winter themed dinner party Longinotti will attest. “At the moment I’m doing double plating, excessive cutlery, excessive glassware. Everything to make it look like, as if by magic, a sort of festive Christmas table has appeared. I’m using a lot of warm toned rose gold cutlery and pairing it back with brightly coloured napkins, in teal for example.” Bright white plates are replaced with grey plates on the creative director’s table, they help to offset the rose gold accents too!


Large florals displays are beautiful but they make conversation across the dinner table quite difficult. Take a leaf out of Longinotti’s book an look instead to ingredients in your menu for decorative inspiration. “I’m using ingredients from my menu, like Rosemary or Lavender, at the table including in place settings. It adds a lovely floral element.”

Interactive food

Sharing plates and share platters are a great way to get your guests interacting and to break the ice.  “Everyone wants interactive food at the moment. If you are having a dinner party for people who don’t know each other, getting them to share food this way is a great conversation starter.”

Seasonal delights

“I’m hanging on to figs for dear life,” jokes Longinotti, “they just look good with everything.” Moving in to winter his advice is to stick with your red meats and root vegetables. “Really embrace seasonal change, people really do want to eat more and nest down.” Think jus and sauces aplenty. Click here for Gastronomy’s Roast Venison recipe.

Make way for pies

Dessert tables are great but the newest obsession in the world of all things sweet is pies. “It’s all about pies, different pies. From fruit pies to turnovers, think about different ways you can present pies, don’t limit yourself to traditional concepts, get creative, think pie pops, lattice pies, turnovers, large pies, small pies.”

To plan your next special event, or for more information, visit 

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