Throw an Incredible Holiday Party with the Help of the Macy’s Culinary Council

Host a holiday even world-class chefs would approve of!
Holiday Tips and Recipes

Host a flawless holiday bash with the help from incredible chefs.

Who doesn’t appreciate a good party this time of year? Holiday parties are times for families to celebrate, for co-workers to grow a little closer, and for friends to spend the night making merry. While attending a holiday party is effortless, hosting one is a whole different story. From the décor you feature to the dishes you serve, each decision affects the ambiance and mood of the party.

To ensure you have a festive, fun, and of course delicious time, we enlisted the help of the Macy’s Culinary Council members for top tips and delicious recipes. Their menu suggestions, centerpiece ideas, and foolproof party “musts” are applicable for any ambitious host or hostess. Just check out what they had to say about top holiday entertaining!

On the Décor:

“I like unscented tall candles as they add a nice light, and I also love to use colorful patterned plates and bowls and mix-and-match. It makes the table more engaging for guests and looks great.”

— Marcus Samuelsson

“I like to wrap a bunch of ornaments in the middle of the table with guests’ names on them. That way, it decorates the table, and gives everyone a little present to open when they take their seats.”

 — Stephanie Izard

“I like mixing and matching produce I used in the meal to form a centerpiece. I’ll buy more than I need and then throw the leftover fruit and vegetable into a vase.”

— Takashi Yagihashi

“My favorite centerpieces are mismatched bud vases, and by all means keep them low so you can see your guests. I also enjoy offering two or three vintages of the same wine for great discussions.”

— Tom Douglas

On the Menu:

“In the wintertime, and especially around the holidays, I make a big pot of my favorite recipe for Swedish mulled wine called Glögg, with Port or madeira wine that's been infused with cinnamon, cardamom, clove, orange and more. It's warming and delicious.”

— Marcus Samuelsson

“The holiday season is crazy enough. No need to sweat a last-minute gathering (sometimes they can be the most fun!). I just plan ahead. I prep a cranberry-ginger syrup that's easily mixed with any sparkling wine for a festive cocktail. Crème de Cassis is also on hand for Kir Royales. For food, my freezer is stocked with frozen dumplings and shumai — crowd pleasing treats that are a snap to heat and enjoy.”

— Ming Tsai

“For cocktails, I love Manhattans and it’s usually a crowd pleaser. Guys like bourbon and Manhattans are a little sweet so the ladies could drink it, too. My go to dish is sautéed chicken livers with bacon, water chestnuts, and a port wine reduction.”

— Takashi Yagihashi

The Go-To Party Tip:

“A really important pre-party step is compiling a great playlist — I make sure I have the music playing as my guests arrive and through the evening. It's fun to pick the best songs to fit the occasion!”

— Marcus Samuelsson

“If you're hosting a seated dinner, make it potluck style. If you're hosting, make the main dish and asking all of your guests to bring the rest. It's a great conversation starter at the party, makes eating more fun and personal, and puts less pressure on the host so they can enjoy their party with family and/or friends!”

— Stephanie Izard

“Serving food with toothpicks or on a skewer is my go-to for parties because most people will have a drink in their hand so I don’t want to serve anything that will require silverware.”

— Takashi Yagihashi

Need some menu inspiration? Here are some recipes from Macy’s Culinary Council to help you out:


· Chef Rick Bayless
Avocado-Dressed Shrimp à la Mexicana
This fresh and zesty dish never fails to disappoint. Your guests will love this simple party food, and you’ll love making it!

· Chef Takashi Yagihashi
This delightful appetizer will please any guest. The hearty quail eggs topped with the salty green olives provide complex and delicious flavors you don’t find at the “average” cocktail party. 

· Chef Ming Tsai
Smashed Shrimp Shumai
Great for a party appetizer or an intimate dinner, this delicious shumai will delight all of your guests. This easy and flavorful recipe is loaded with simple, fresh ingredients will please any crowd. 

Entrées and Sides:

·Chef Michelle Bernstein
Perfect Poached Eggs with Cheddar-Chive Grits and Crispy Ham
Don’t be intimidated by poached eggs. This recipe shows you how to perfect poach them and has creative and flavorful sides that will be a total hit at your next brunch

·Chef Mark Forgione
Red-wine Braised Short Ribs
Short ribs are always an excellent menu choice for a classic holiday dinner. The Port wine reduction and garlic butter enhance the natural flavors in the red meat, bring you and your dinner guest an natural and delicious entrée. 

· Chef Marcus Samuelsson
Habesha Lamb Chops
One of the best things about cooking with lamb is that it is capable of taking on and complementing a variety of flavors. The chutney that tops this grilled lamb pairs with the meat perfectly, while the whole milk yogurt marinade adds a delectable texture to the entrée. 

· Chef Todd English
Quail with Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Cornbread stuffing is an absolute classic during the holidays, from Thanking to New Year’s Day. With the addition of ingredients like quail eggs and sausage, you can take the cornbread stuffing to a whole new level and make a new tradition for your family to enjoy.

· Chef Tom Douglas
Seared Rare Duck Breast with Duck-fried Jo Jo’s
For a hearty holiday meal, skip the roast beast and go for something a little more indulgent. Seared duck paired with heart potatoes is just what Santa would want you to eat!

·Chef Nancy Silverton
Beet Salad with Marinated Radicchio and Fresh Goat Cheese
Who says that the holiday have to be unhealthy? This simple marinated beet salad has all of the charm of the season without the scary calorie count. This is a perfect recipe to kick off a holiday meal or to pass around a party.


·Chef Stephanie Izard
Pecan Not Pie
The holidays are so hectic, who doesn’t need a simple and delicious recipe in their baking arsenal? This no-bake topping is perfect for a holiday dessert bar and takes almost no time to prepare.

· Chef Johnny Iuzzini
Pear and Blackberry Cobbler
Topped with a crumbly streusel, this pear and blackberry cobbler is a fabulous holiday dessert that has just the right amount of sweet and tangy flavors. 

Looking for more incredible recipes? Be sure to head to the Macy’s Culinary Council’s recipe page for more inspiring dishes worth sharing this holiday and all year long. 

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