Hosting a dinner party at home need not be expensive - provided you do your homework well in advance, Perth food and wine professionals say.
"Bringing people together in your own home is a great thing to do," says Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House head chef Joel Valvasori- Pereza.
"It doesn't have to be expensive."
So you don't need caviar to impress your guests.
Andaluz Bar & Tapas head chef Scott Alfonso says people may be daunted by in-home catering, particularly if they lack confidence in the kitchen, but they "should be having fun, not an aneurism".
"At the end of the day, keep in mind that you are entertaining friends and family, not hosting a bevy of critics," Alfonso says.
"Guests are coming over because they want the pleasure of your company not because they expect a culinary tour de force.
"If the number of guests is not obscene, people should try to cook the food themselves; it may take a bit of organisation and a few days of preparation but at the end of it there is something satisfying about expressing your feelings for others through food."
The first step in preparing a dinner party at home on a budget is to visualise the type of event - formal or casual - and the food theme.
"The number of guests you can accommodate will depend greatly on the style of affair you are looking to host," Alfonso says.
"Once you know the style and number of guests, work out how much you can spend."
This figure must take into account drink as well as food to ensure you don't break your budget.
"Once you know your overall expenditure you can work on the rough cost per head. This will determine what food you can cook and what booze you can provide," Alfonso says.
"Plan your menu according to your budget but, more importantly, plan it to your skill level. No one wants to see you fail so don't set yourself up for it."
The cheapest way to create a menu is by sourcing produce that is in season and grown locally.
You don't have to spend a lot to eat well. Steering clear of premium price tags on fruit and vegetables can save you up to 50 per cent on your shopping bill, chefs say.
"If you are buying food that is fresh and local it's going to taste better and cost you a lot less than something that's been shipped over from Ecuador," Alfonso says.
"Protein will always be the most expensive thing on the menu. Instead of looking for a discount meat place that will sell you something that once resembled an animal, find a quality butcher who can provide you with secondary cuts of quality meat."
Valvasori-Pereza says seasonal produce is cheap and at its flavour peak, which means little effort is needed in a kitchen to make it shine on the plate.
Secondary cuts of meat are an inexpensive option.
"They need longer, slower cooking in a lot of cases, but this can make things easier for you because it can be prepared earlier," he says.
Valvasori-Pereza created a three-course meal for Epicurean that feeds eight people, costs about $100 and is practically stress-free.
Anything that can be prepared in advance means less time spent in the kitchen and more time entertaining guests."A braised leg of lamb or slow-roasted pork can give you three to four hours up your sleeve," Valvasori-Pereza says.
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