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Invite Federico Ferrero to dinner: 5 mistakes not to make
Invite Federico Ferrero to dinner: 5 mistakes not to make

Consider having, among your acquaintances, someone who prides himself on knowing everything about food and wine, recipes and techniques, welcome and hospitality. Arguments of which he considers himself a great expert and of which he thinks he can always have his say - and be right in doing so.

In short, a know-it-all. And maybe, on top of that, even a snooty and / or arrogant thread. Someone like Federico Ferrero, to say.

Now, it is not up to you to question his skills and, indeed, in some cases it may have happened that you have heard from him authoritative opinions and precise observations on the subject of food and wine.

But now it happens that you have to invite him to dinner.

Don't panic. If you want to leave the evening unscathed and, perhaps, with your culinary self-love still intact, just don't make the 5 mistakes not to do with difficult guests.

1. Welcome him hastily

amuse bouche
amuse bouche

Good morning starts in the morning. In the case of a dinner, from how the guest is welcomed on the doorstep.

This guest, in particular, will look after the smile on your face: that it is as spontaneous and relaxed as possible and does not betray your performance anxiety.

Quickly take and put away your coat, umbrella or whatever he has and in exchange give him a glass of something, to be accompanied with a small appetizer, pardon, amuse-bouche that appetizer makes so much aperitif.

Not too much stuff: he has to sit at the table still with a certain appetite, if you want him to appreciate your dishes, if only for hunger.

2. Wrong wine

invitation to dinner, wine
invitation to dinner, wine

What to give the demanding drinker? If you are a more or less amateur sommelier yourself, you will not have too much difficulty in selecting the right labels from aperitif to dessert.

The same if you have a trusted wine shop where you can go with the menu, well detailed, and get the right shopping advice.

Are the first two hypotheses not valid? You have two paths. The first, prudent, are the bubbles: with a classic method or a Champagne throughout the meal, they are hardly wrong (well, oh well, unless you cook a braised beef in Barolo).

As long as you remember to change it for dessert with a sweet, still or sparkling wine.

The second way is more shameless but certainly effective: if at the time of the invitation, the guest asks you "can I bring something?", Take advantage of it and ask him, who is so expert, to take care of the wine.

Of course, you will have to disclose what you are going to cook. But afterwards you will be sure that he will drink happily and will never admit to having the wrong bottle.

A step back: if you want to prepare a cocktail as a welcome, make sure that spirits and doses are comme il faut. Woe to offer a Gin and Tonic or a Negroni prepared with cheap liqueurs, substitutes and the like.

3. Do any shopping

invitation to dinner, shopping
invitation to dinner, shopping

Now, I'm not telling you that you have to sift through the best shops in town. But for the main ingredients, from pasta to fish, from cured meats to cheeses, try not to fall back on the convenience store on the corner.

Stay away from pre-cooked and frozen bread only finished in the super oven. Steer clear of ready-made bases. Avoid like the plague all kinds of sauce in jars.

If it is to be fried or vegetable broth, start with a carrot, a stalk of celery, an onion. If it has to be mayonnaise, from eggs and oil. And so on.

Speaking of oil: you should hide the one bought on offer that you keep on the counter in a cabinet (you know, it's just for cooking!) And instead take out the precious monocultivar bottle received at Christmas from the uncle who knows.

4. Imitating other people's recipes

invitation to dinner, pasta
invitation to dinner, pasta

You have a library full of recipes from great chefs. The temptation to perform them, especially if the guest is special, is strong. But do you know what happens? That if you bring to the table rice and saffron made like that of Davide Oldani, or the Carlo Cracco marinated egg, the (scorching) disappointment is practically certain.

At best, because you don't have the ingredients and the technique to faithfully replicate the dish. At worst, because he ate several times at Oldani and Cracco's and yes, that rice and that egg.

There is, of course, Plan B. If you think that Luciano Monosilio's carbonara is the best there is, go for it. But don't declare it.

5. Push with creativity

dinner invitation, creative plate
dinner invitation, creative plate

Now, again to quote Federico Ferrero, I remember with precision that at Masterchef he prepared dishes in some extreme ways. I was impressed by a raw rabbit with mussels. However, while the presentation was airing, they should have slipped a "Don't try this at home" girth.

Because if replicating (see point 4) is forbidden, it is also forbidden to invent from scratch and in an excessively unscrupulous way.

I am not saying that certain risky combinations may not be pleasant for someone, but with classic cuisine you are never wrong.

Limit your personal reinterpretations to gaskets, small substitutions, discreet additions.

Above all, don't stress them but present the dish nonchalantly. If the expert at your table notices it, it will be up to him to compliment politely for the extra touch. Didn't he like it? Let his conscience tell him whether or not to point it out.

In short, don't provoke him.

The fact remains that, point by point, he is asking me seriously: what are you inviting him to do one like this? And then, why do you know him like this?

Isn't it better to get Gigi and Mario from the soccer field for two penne all'arrabbiata, drink the wine of the Castelli and be happy? Or, are you convinced that you are so cool in the kitchen that, in the end, even Federico Ferrero would write a positive review about you?

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