URBANARA

The perfect host

As the founder and CEO of Atheneum Partners, Mathias Wengeler is well versed in bringing people together. During the day he keeps busy connecting the world's most seasoned experts with leading decision-makers, but by night Mathias is a fabulous host renowned for themed dinner parties. We quizzed him for his best dinner party tips.

Themed dinner certainly make parties night more interesting for guests. What have been some of your recent themes?

A Moroccan night I recently hosted was a favourite, closely followed by a winter lobster feast, Japanese, Peruvian-Mexican, and classic American ‘surf n’ turf’. I think it’s important that the theme fits the season – for instance, I would never suggest serving clams during summer.

Making food with friends should be a collaborative effort throughout the evening

How do you approach the preparation and planning? Do you make the meal in advance, or are you comfortable doing this when your guests have arrived?

It is best if you include your friends as much as possible – making food with friends should be a collaborative effort throughout the evening. Certainly take care of the shopping yourself in advance, but allow the social dynamic to evolve on its own as you prepare the food together. The night should be about creating a pleasant atmosphere for exchanges between friends, not so much about the food and drink itself.

How do you make your guests feel comfortable, particularly those who are meeting for the first time?

Offering innovative cuisine, great drinks and good music usually does the job. But it’s also important to consider whether the guests you plan to invite are a good match for one another – a mix of guys and girls is also a mood lifter. Mathias Wengeler

How do you go about creating the right atmosphere?

Aim to create a sophisticated atmosphere with a little bit of love. Your home shouldn’t look too sterile. I feel that antique pieces and handcrafted details help give my home a personal touch: wooden furniture, a vintage sterling silver champagne bucket or a hand-tied bouquet, for instance. I try to combine warm colours with rustic style and soft lighting to make the space inviting. When it comes to food, I prefer to serve my guests on generously sized plates.

One final tip for those striving to be the perfect host?

Stay calm, and improvise quietly on the side as needed. It always helps to have an emergency bottle of wine in the fridge.

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