We collaborated with food historian Dr Annie Gray, 2,000 of the great British public and influencers from the world of food, Aimee Twigger, Anna Barnett and The Meringue Girls, to produce a report on The Art of Entertaining.

We found that the way we host has changed quite dramatically; gone are the days of the traditional dinner party, with a standard three courses, dished up onto ‘guest plates’. It seems that us Brits have torn up the entertaining rulebook, giving us a number of different and much more informal set ups, reflective of the way we live today.

With only a third of people in the UK saying they still lay a traditional table setting for dinner parties and only 25% opting for a full three courses, we’re left with the vast majority doing things a little differently. The remaining two thirds is made up of a number of emerging trends – these are the modern dinner party types we found:



  • DINNER PARTY DATES: LOVE IS IN THE AIR

    The tradition of meeting a future partner over the dining table is thriving.

    In the past, dinners were used as good forums for controlled introductions, ideal for parents to cast a beady eye on potential spouses, assessing their manners, their intellect and their conversational sparkle.

    Today, 60% of us feel that dinner parties are much better environments for getting to know people than a bar. With 1 in 10 Londoners and Scots claiming to have met the love of their life at a dinner party, dinner party romance is a hot topic.



  • THE STAND UP SUPPER

    A quarter of us are keeping things very casual, serving food to guests on laps or standing up.

    Denby has seen a dramatic rise in bowl sales with an increase of 40% in 2015 against 9% for dinner plates, reflecting the trend for serving bowl food at dinner parties.



  • THE ONE POT WONDER

    33% of 24-45 year olds are serving one pot dishes at dinner parties – hearty dishes made for sharing, often served with nothing but good bread on the side for friends to tear, dip and share.



  • THE SMALL PLATE PARTY

    With some of the UK’s hottest restaurants in recent times (Duck & Waffle, Polpo, Spuntino, Barrafina) opting to serve small sharing plates over the traditional a-la-carte menu, it’s no wonder this trend is starting to filter through into home entertaining – almost 20% of 24-45 year olds are dishing up small but plentiful plates to guests.

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