5@5 - Isaac Mizrahi
December 1st, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

At sundown, Hanukkah, the eight-day festival of lights, officially began. Over the next seven days, Jewish families will commemorate the holiday by feasting on the likes of latkes and sufganiyot (or jelly doughnuts), among other dishes. And over the next month, up until New Year's, friends and families everywhere will be gathering around the table to stuff themselves silly to celebrate the season.

But before you invite the whole lot of 'em over, a few dinner party ground rules from a man who knows a thing or two about throwing a party with style and grace.

Isaac Mizrahi is the internationally acclaimed fashion designer and co-host of Bravo's "The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection," which airs every Tuesday at 10 p.m. EST. He also hosts his own daily web series "WATCH ISAAC" where you might find him cooking up halibut avec Eric Ripert, waxing rhapsodic about his new favorite restaurant or the perfect pie crust.

Five Rules on Having a Good Dinner Party: Isaac Mizrahi

1. Hire a waiter.
"... And preferably a cute one. It's the only way to ensure that you will have fun at your own party, and unless you have fun, no one else will."

2. Do not cook for more than six people.
"That's not cooking, it's catering - and it's not your specialty unless you happen to be a caterer. So, hire a caterer the minute the seventh guest confirms."

3. Wear comfortable shoes to your dinner party.
"Unless you have more than one waiter and you can stay seated most of the night. And remember, comfort is relative - some are more comfortable in high heels than flats."

4. Only serve things you love.
"Unless you've tried things beforehand like menu items or even scented candles don't have them. nothing worse than a terrible surprise like a new recipe that goes awry or a new, untried, awful-smelling hand soap."

5. Always subtly specify when the party is set to end.
"If not on the invitation, on the phone as part of the pertinent information. Always say something like, 'cocktails at seven, dinner at 8ish and we'll probably finish by ten,' so that you don't have those guests who stay and stay and stay."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Think

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Bailes24

    AMEN Thomas, AMEN

    December 2, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  2. Thomas


    What happened to graciousness? It died at the same time people forgot when to leave a party. It is a party, guests are not subletting.

    We have had parties where the party starts at 8:00 and at 3:00am people are still there!! Sorry if people don't have anyplace to go, but unless the host states that this will be an "all-nighter", the guests need to know when to leave. It is rude for a guest to presume that the hosts have nothing better to do then to entertain guests for 6-8 hours. Does any ever think that the hosts still have to clean up and they might have plans for the next day?

    And yes, in your posting, that was a great hint. When people start to leave, especially friends of the host, it was probably time for the guests to leave. That's gracious. Graciousness works both ways.

    December 2, 2010 at 9:03 am |
    • Curious...

      Well put Thomas!!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  3. Fiona

    I agree on the idea of putting a closing time on a party. I went to a small dinner party where the best friend of the hostess made a big point of announcing what time she would leave (it was a kind of "wink, wink") and then the hostess just stared at me until my husband and I left. It was so rude that I wondered why we'd been invited at all. This hostess is the kind of person who sets people up to fail anyway. Why not simply apologize for calling it a day and suggest that we continue the party on a future evening? What happened to graciousness?

    December 2, 2010 at 12:59 am |
    • Curious...

      I'm curious – why would you accept an invitation to a dinner party given by someone you don't appear to like? If you HAD to go, why did it take rude staring from the hostess to get you to leave? If I'm 'putting in an appearance' because I felt I had to, I stay for an acceptable amount of time, and then I make my polite excuses to LEAVE!!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  4. Jim

    That's fine to hire staff if you can afford it. On the other hand some of us can do sit down for much more than six and not ever have to leave the table.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  5. AuroraDawn

    LOL It can't be eye candy everyday for you guys....hmm...I wonder when Symon will be interviewed again...

    December 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  6. RichardHead

    SLT is trying to be fair and balanced-Ooops wrong station.

    December 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  7. Sir Biddle

    no thank you!

    December 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  8. AuroraDawn

    LOL Me thinks thou doth protest too much.....

    December 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  9. AuroraDawn

    LOL No point in me hitting it....not that I would if there were.

    December 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  10. Truth

    Definitely NOT hitting that!

    December 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  11. RichardHead

    NO WAY>

    December 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • Truth@RichHead

      Well done sir! I salute us both on our taste in "non-hitting" and I think that SLT is toying with our little gang.

      December 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • RichardHead

      Winner,winner chicken dinner.

      December 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
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