Chef Justin Kent’s Top Tips for Throwing the Ultimate Canada Day Picnic
Between deciding on a menu, choosing decorations and carefully selecting your guest list, hosting the perfect summer party can get a little overwhelming. Not to worry, though! We chatted with Paris-based chef Justin Kent, a Grey Goose partner, and got his top tips for hosting a Canada Day picnic to remember.
Chef Justin’s catering company, Picnics in Paris, specializes in creating elevated picnic experiences set amidst Paris’s most famous landmarks. If you’re looking to bring some of that Parisian charm home, read on for Chef Justin’s picnic party essentials.
Comfort is Key
No one wants to sit in a soggy, uncomfortable patch of grass all night, so make sure to have enough blankets and cushions on hand for your guests. (Chef Justin recommends at least one picnic blanket for every two to four people.) If you’re planning on setting up in a sunny spot, you can also bring along an umbrella for protection against sun exposure.
Pack the Real Deal
To really elevate the status of your picnic, serve your meal using real flatware, dishes and glassware. It may mean a little extra work to clean up, but your guests will appreciate the effort.
Prepare Drinks Ahead of Time
If you’re planning on serving cocktails, Chef Justin suggests pre-making batches to keep the drinks flowing all night. It will save you the trouble of bartending your own party, so you’ll also be free to mingle and enjoy the festivities.
Look for High-Quality Ingredients
Hitting up your nearest farmers market is the easiest way to find fresh ingredients for your menu. Look for seasonal fruits and veggies, and whenever possible select locally grown produce to turn an ordinary meal into a restaurant-worthy dish.
Keep the Menu Simple
If you’re stumped for recipe ideas, Chef Justin’s go-to picnic dinner is a classic French dish: chicken in a mustard cream sauce served with a shaved summer salad dressed in a champagne vinaigrette (full recipes available here). Just add a good white wine, and you’ll be feeling like a true Parisian in no time.