clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ted Allen's Top Tips for Entertaining

As the host of the popular Food Network show Chopped, chef and food enthusiast Ted Allen doesn't always get to choose what he eats, an 'occupational hazard' that can sometimes lead to heartburn. But by having PEPCID® product in his toolkit, Ted doesn't have to worry about heartburn triggers like coffee and white wine slowing him down. He can go on with the show—whether hosting TV or throwing a spectacular dinner party. PEPCID® Brand is his secret weapon, to help him have a good time no matter what's on the menu.

Now, Ted is passing on some of the other dining and entertaining secrets he has picked up over the years. These are the sort of insider secrets that can turn a ho-hum dinner party into the envy of all your friends, while helping keep heartburn off the menu.

1. When you've had a bite of overly spicy food, the best way to battle the heat is not ice water, bread, or rice: it's dairy, which is why Mexican food often comes with sour cream and Indian food with yogurt. And if spicy food triggers heartburn for some of your guests, they may also be glad that you have PEPCID® on hand.

2. A fun way to deepen your knowledge of food is to organize a professional, comparative tasting of anything from wine, to cheese, to olives, to olive oil, to chile peppers. Here's how:

a. Cheese: Go to a cheese shop, ask for three very different cheeses made from different milks (goat, sheep, cow), some soft, some hard, and be sure to get the name of each. Research them on the internet, taste them with friends, and talk about what you like and dislike. Next time you're ordering a cheese plate for the table, you'll feel like a pro!

b. Wine: Get three wines; three different Sauvignon Blancs, say, at the same price point and some crusty bread to nibble between sips. Cover the labels with paper or pour the wines and hide the bottles—this is a "blind" tasting—and talk about the flavors you detect in each bottling. The wine list at your favorite 5 star restaurant won't seem that intimidating!

c. Olive oil: Olive oils are not all the same! Go to a gourmet market and ask for three different oils—extra virgin, first cold pressed, which is the best quality—with different character. Tear a loaf of good bread into chunks, pour oils out onto plates, and start dipping. Do you taste fruitiness? Grassiness? A peppery quality? Note: While some people think only Italian olive oil is good, this is absolutely untrue. Great oils are made in Spain, Greece, France, and California, among many other places. Taste until you find your favorite!

3. When you're entertaining, think: theme. You know the ritual: You sit down with friends to dinner, or step up to a bar, and, as you look at the menu, you ask, "What are you having?" People like to have a suggested direction, a drink idea, an inspiration for something that "sounds good." So when you're entertaining, tell friends that you're throwing a margarita night, or sangria night, or summer lunch with mint iced tea. People love it, and—bonus—it costs less to prepare one drink or dish than to provide a full bar or restaurant-sized menu.

4. One of the best ways to host an easy and less expensive dinner party is the potluck. By celebrating this way, it allows friends to share in the culinary glory, and it exposes you to other families' specialties and traditions. Just be sure to agree with friends who are bringing a green vegetable, a starch, and whole grains, so you have an idea of the shape your meal will take. It also helps to keep the flavor profiles consistent; all Chinese in theme, Mediterranean, or Southern comfort food. New cuisines may trigger heartburn for you and your guests, so I recommend keeping PEPCID® product on hand to help your guests continue enjoying their meal.

5. For me, celebrating with food and friends needs to involve music, lots of it, and never a minute of dead air. This is what streaming services and "genius" playlists were made for! Create a streaming "station" based on one of two songs that your crowd likes, and you get a selection of familiar and new songs that keeps the mood where it needs to be.