People who want to create a restaurant experience at home usually stop at the food part. It can certainly be great fun to throw together an elegant meal for a special occasion that contains exotic ingredients and then make it all look great. You can add to the fun by making a menu, having special table settings or greeting your "dinner guests" at the door and escorting them to their VIP seating area. But the real good times can take place in the kitchen, where you can simulate all the excitement and camaraderie behind the scenes.
Meal Prep Together
The teamwork can start by the whole family getting together and helping prep and make the meal. One person can be in charge of the refrigerator, and making sure all the right ingredients are easy to find and ready to be pulled out when needed. This can work even with a mini fridge and freezer.
Another person can be in charge of the range and stove, making sure all menu items are properly cooked. Working between the gas range and the gas stove is recommended, but sometimes a nearby microwave oven can help to heat up something quickly and easily.
After the Meal
A third person can have dish duty – like any restaurant, the smart way to tackle this is to always be working on them, rather than waiting until after the meal when the pile of dirty items is too large to handle. Keeping the dishwasher running while washing other items in the sink is the most efficient. Think of it as a well-oil machine, conveyer belt-style.
You can also soak some items while you're eating. When your meal is done, dishes may be easier to scrub clean.
The spirit of restaurant-style teamwork can also work for any post-meal clean-up, which is where you and your family can really enjoy themselves. Any leftovers can be placed in a refrigerator. Any garbage can be gathered and thrown away. Finish by applying sanitation standards to your kitchen, including wiping down counters, the range appliance and any cooktop areas. And voila! You just made after dinner clean up a breeze!