Party season is in full swing for the summer. So if you're looking for a little advice for an upcoming dinner bash, then perhaps you should look no further than Top Chef judge Gail Simmons.
"I want guests to be cross-legged on the couch with a glass of wine in their hands," she tells InStyle about her party-throwing philosophy. "At all times."
There are nine rules when it comes to having proper party. Location is the first. You need to have a "suitable space" for your next great fete. The next rule: dress for the "mood" of the party.
"My entertaining style is casual and comfortable so generally, I'm wearing my comfortable skinny jeans," she says. "I'm almost always barefoot, and wearing a top that I know I can cook in and not worry if something spills on [it]. I never want to be fussy, but still want to feel comfortable and pretty."
She also notes to use the season as your guide to planning your menu. "There's lot of ways to take inspiration from the season—something simple that you don’t have to fuss over and it can all be organized in advanced and just put together to serve."
While the menu is certainly an important part of a perfect party, she advises not to overthink it. "If it grows together, then it generally goes together," she says. "So if it’s all coming out this time of year, it's generally all good to cook together."
Gail also says that you should make sure that your food choices don't keep you away from your guests—and that you should have a reliable sous chef to help you. "I like to cook food that allows me to, first of all, not be fussy at the last minute so I can be with my guests," she says. "I think the most impressive thing about a great dinner party is the host or hostess is able to be present and not spend all their time with his or her face in a pot."
Music and drinks are also important, obviously, and those two elements tie right into her last rule. It's a party, so make sure you make time to actually party. "I'm never going to overreach and do something that isn’t me," she says. "I think that everyone should do that for dinner parties. I want entertaining to come naturally or else it’s not fun and then, why do it?"
•It's a Girl for Gail Simmons
•Gail Simmons Reveals Her Baby's First Milestones
•Gail Simmons Reveals Her Worst 'Top Chef' Dishes
•Gail Simmons Reveals Secrets of 'Top Chef Duels'
•Gail Simmons: 'Top Chef Duels' Will Get Brutal