Want to organize the summer office party at home? Inviting the team to your home for a BBQ allows you to connect with your employees, creating a special moment where you can show them how much you appreciate them. From the decor to the menu and recipes, here are some tips for organizing an office BBQ, whether that’s extravagant or casual, but always original.
Organizing a memorable party does not mean inviting the Eloize Circus into your garden (even if you really like the idea!). It’s about creating an event that reflects your image and that of your team. Here are three questions you need to ask to guarantee success.
Q1: What is the current atmosphere at work?
Festive and chic: Is your company growing, with several recent achievements you want to highlight? Make it party time! Why not opt for a flamboyant theme, like a beach party with a decadent surf ‘n’ turf menu in the spotlight? Create a bar area for colourful cocktails and a fun new punch recipe. Decorate the area with Christmas lights, which are even more effective at dusk, and some patio heaters for those who like to stay warm. Arrange tables around the garden to encourage guests to mingle. And don’t forget the dance floor, with a DJ or good playlists, of course!
Warm and relaxed: Do you have a young team, with people who don’t know each other very well? A more casual, inviting atmosphere will bring them together. Think of decorating a long table with wildflowers and offering dishes that they can share. Background music and funny games will encourage conversation. If you make a speech, keep it short and positive, and be sure to highlight your team’s good points.
Q2: How much do you want to be involved in organizing your event and how much do you want your team to participate?
For a team that likes to work together: Do you have a well-established team, but a limited budget? Ask each team member what he or she would like to do to participate. Some people like to take charge of the BBQ or cocktail bar, while others prefer doing the music or decorations.
For a team that does not know each other well: If you don’t yet have a “tightly woven” team, it is better to hire professionals to do the serving, or simply take care of the kitchen and bar yourself, with the help of some friends.
Q3: Is your team very trendy or more conservative in their culinary tastes?
If you do not know your employees’ eating preferences, give them a short survey of two or three questions to get an idea of their tastes. You don’t want to serve lobster to guests allergic to seafood, or prepare steak and pork brochettes for vegetarians.
Grilled vegetables and light salads are popular in 2019 Integrating more vegetables into our diet is a widely shared concern. Bell peppers, asparagus, eggplant, Spanish onions and Portobello mushrooms are all BBQ classics. Feel free to invent your own twists on these standards, for example grilling corn on the cob, instead of boiling it. Don’t hesitate to add a few dips, a mix of crushed nuts or shaved Parmesan to enhance the taste of your grilled vegetables.
Do you prefer raw vegetables? A few light salads to accompany the main dishes, such as a celeriac remoulade or a salad of fresh garden tomatoes will colour the plates and delight the taste buds of your guests.
Juicy and tender grilled meats, cooked to perfection The secret of grilling is the quality of the cuts, marinades and cooking. If you do not have time to marinate the meat, ask your butcher to do it for you. Here we give you some ideas for quick marinades you can do the same day. Use your phone as a timer when cooking for optimal results, all while keeping up with your conversations.
Alexis’ choice: aged meat on the grill “For meat, filet mignon and flank steaks are classic and always tasty. But a good rib steak aged at least 40 days, seasoned with fleur de sel, or sea salt, and cooked on the grill is even better! Most good butchers now offer this cut. To make cooking easier, it is best not to exceed one and a half inches in thickness.”
– Alexis Arslanian
Why not do surf ‘n’ turf and enjoy local specialties when they’re in season? Lobster season extends into July, and you can find good deals at many fishmongers. If your lobsters weigh less than two pounds, you can even cook them directly on the BBQ. Another option is oysters. Oysters from Quebec and New Brunswick are available all year long, and oyster bars are always a big hit with fans.
Alexis’ choice: grilled octopus “I’ve noticed that people are afraid to cook octopus, yet it’s very simple! Here is my recipe for homemade grilled octopus:
1- Clean the octopus. If you’re not comfortable doing it, ask the fishmonger to do it for you (basically, you have to remove the beak from the octopus).
2- Place the octopus in a court bouillon (water, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, pepper and bay leaves) and simmer, covered, for an hour and a half. It is very, very important to maintain a low heat, no rolling boil! Then turn off the heat and let it cool in the broth for 30 minutes. 3- Marinate the octopus in a mixture of olive oil, paprika, garlic, lemon zest and thyme. That’s it! 4- To grill it, use a cooking mat or oil the grill well to prevent the skin from sticking. 5- Serve the octopus with a Romesco sauce or crème fraîche with lemon, using a hot slate as a serving platter.”
– Alexis Arslanian
Details that make all the difference. Remember to specify if children are invited. If they are, plan a menu suitable for kids (an assortment of raw vegetables and brochettes, for example), as well as outdoor games for them to play, including water games if it’s hot. If there is a swimming pool, mention it in the invitation so that guests can bring their swimsuits and towels. Hire a lifeguard for the day to create a secure environment. As for bathrooms, avoid discomforting your guests with chemical, or portable toilets. Instead, place simple directions to a bathroom in the basement or kitchen.
What if it rains? If your house is big, and the number of guests allows it, you can simply redirect the festivities inside. If it’s a large-scale event, or more than 50 people, it is better to rent a marquee to ensure everything runs smoothly. You may not even have to install it if the sun shines brightly!
For dessert, why not turn the cocktail bar into an ice cream bar after the meal? It’s a beautifully sweet touch to end your festive BBQ!