With family gatherings put on hold for now, Culinary Director / Executive Chef Nicholas Walker has found a fun, high-tech way to stay connected to family near and far – a virtual dinner party!

“It’s a way to get together as a group and share a meal via social distance,” Walker said.

Grilled Coppa steak with heirloom baby carrots, parsnip puree and roasted Brussels sprouts

Every week, Chef Walker and about eight families from across the country get together via Zoom at dinner time. Each family shares what they have prepared, and then everyone eats, drinks and talks, just like an-person dinner party.

“It was nice to feel like we were getting together as a family,” Walker said.

If you’d like to try out a virtual dinner party with friends and family, Chef Walker offers some tips:

1. Pick a time that works for everyone, especially if participants are in different time zones. 5 pm works for their group.

2. Make sure your meal is ready and on the table by the time the virtual dinner party begins. It cuts down on the chaos.

3. Laptops work better than tablets, both for ease of positioning and for getting the entire group included in the camera frame.

4. Do it regularly. You’ll work out the kinks during the first one, and subsequent parties will feel more relaxed.

5. Don’t feel pressured to prepare a gourmet meal. Pizza or just sharing cocktails are fine, too. It’s more about the company than the food.

In our next blog, we’ll highlight Chef Walker’s virtual dinner party menu and how he’s grocery shopping during quarantine. Some of his insights may surprise you.

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