Chef Matt Migliore worked in New York City’s restaurant scene for more than a decade.
In 2021, Migliore began hosting private dinners, which have been sought by celebrities and influencers.
He suggested picking a theme, and shared two crowd-pleasing recipes for the perfect dinner party.
Chef Matt Migliore has been a fixture in New York City’s fine-dining scene for over a decade. Originally from Rochester, New York, the 32-year-old has since settled in Queens, gathering years of experience at institutions like the Michelin-recommended Llama Inn and Madre.
When COVID-19 shuttered the city’s restaurants in March 2020, Migliore took a few weeks to rest, recharge, and frankly, “sulk,” he said. Then it was time to get to work.
He started offering an at-home chef consulting initiative, where he helped people create meals with whatever they had in their pantry at the time. Then he expanded to cooking lessons. But his private dinner parties, dubbed the Chef Matt Experience, are what has stood out, becoming the heart and soul of his small business.
“The dynamic that we offer is so special and so intimate,” Migliore told Insider.
Migliore and his team arrive an hour before dinner to set up and begin cooking. If it’s a large enough event, they’ll bring the bar staff, too.
Unique, intimate, and uncompromisingly tasty, his dinners have attracted the attention of celebrities like John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Neil Patrick Harris, and Courteney Cox, as well as influencers like Tinx and Danielle Bernstein.
While it can be difficult to recreate Migliore’s dinner parties without a professional background, he shared a few things you can do to host a kick-ass event of your own.
Make an easy, crowd-pleasing dish that can be customized for guests with dietary restrictions
According to Migliore, ceviche is the perfect dish to do just that.
“Something that’d be really, really easy to do — and honestly one of my favorite things — is working with fish,” Migliore said. “A ceviche would be really, really cool.”
It’s simple and doesn’t require a lot of pots and pans, Migliore said. Plus, the recipe can be altered for people who don’t eat fish.
For omnivores, Migliore suggests this 30-minute Peruvian summer ceviche with tuna. For vegans, however, he suggests making ceviche with rutabaga — just an hour-long undertaking.
Choose a theme and stick with it
“I think if you’re not a professional at it, I would keep it theme-based to make it easier with the food,” Migliore told Insider.
For Migliore, the dishes he makes are typically “Japanese-Peruvian with a New York-style aesthetic to it.” It’s a cuisine he developed a fondness for while working at different restaurants throughout the city and one that can be similarly recreated using his ceviche recipes.
Sticking to a theme can help avoid being spread too thin across cuisines, as well as narrow down the aesthetic and vibe you’re trying to create.
Finally, understand the vibe you’re trying to achieve
When Migliore is preparing for a private dinner, the consultation is the most important part. Before the event, he’ll take a call with the client to understand what the event is — whether it’s a bachelorette party or a birthday event for a parent — and what atmosphere clients want to create.
Understanding the aesthetic he’s trying to achieve helps Migliore determine the event’s colors and overall vibe, and can help create a cohesive dinner party.
While you might not need a consultation for dining with friends and family, it’s good to at least understand the aesthetic to pull the event together.
“Understand the aesthetic — the type of party that you’re throwing, what kind of event it is, and if you want to keep it intimate or if you want to make it big,” Migliore said. “But overall, the food and the service are everything.”
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