When one is invited guests for dinner there are three points that good cooks cover
1- Who are you cooking for
2- What’s the occasion?
3- How much time do you have?
3-How much time do you have
Time really matters, if you want to pull off a large four course dinner with all the trimmings then you’re going to need to plan ahead, you have to give yourself the time, most always under estimate the time needed to pull off the vision they have.
You can always start early in the week, preparation, preparation, preparation is the key to success, it's not cheating if you start early but it is cheating if you buy everything in and pass it off as your own, if you have run out of time.
2-Whats the occasion
By asking yourself this question, you will be able to create a theme, because the food will set the tone, as an example fish ‘n' chips for a boys night in is one thing but for a formal dinner, it’s not appropriate.
If it’s just a get together, then the meal can be light which equals 'don't over fuss' if you are entertaining guests to show gratitude for a favour, or repaying a previous dinner engagement, then the food should reflect the occasion.
"Memorable dates (moments) should be remembered by memorable food, wine and loved ones".
1-Who are you cooking for?
This I think is the most important point, are you cooking for friends, family or has your partner / spouse invited work colleagues, once you understand who you are cooking for you can then start to set the parameters for the type of meal you’re going to prepare and cook, are they young, old, middle aged by asking this you can gauge what type of food they might enjoy.
Whilst you know the likes and dislikes of your family, we all know what it's like when you have spent a considerable amount of time on a meal, only for it not to have been received well at all, so you must of course gather information, find out about your guests allergies, if any, also what meats and fish they do and don't like.
Asking is the best way and if a guest informs you that they are a Vegetarian then again ASK do you eat fish.
My experience has taught me that some say they are vegetarian but actually mean pescatarian and I personally have spent a great deal of time making and completely specific meals only to find that they would have gladly eaten the fish course and been supper happy.
"If you really want to make a friend, invite them to your home and eat with them.
The people you share food with, share their heart with you".