Adam Richman on the One Mistake People Make When Cooking for the Holidays

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It's all about time management.

We've all been there. You have a roast in the oven, your stovetop is crammed with bubbling pots, and your guests are scheduled to arrive way before you have a chance to wrap everything up. It's stressful, but it doesn't need to be. We've got tips for planning the perfect holiday dinner, all from a man who has plenty of experience cooking for a crowd. 

Celebrity chef, culinary traveler, and author, Adam Richman, knows his way around a kitchen. From his work on Man Vs. Food and Secret Eats, Richman has become synonymous with over-the-top dishes. But when he's cooking at home for the holidays, he knows what's top priority—time management. 

"It’s a finely crafted ballet making sure everything arrives at the table hot and ready to serve," Richman told Departures.

So whether you're planning a massive spread for friends and family or just a small get-together for your nearest and dearest, the focus should remain the same—getting everything to the table while it's still hot and while people are ready to eat. It's all about strategizing. 

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"You don’t want one dish to congeal, get soggy, or dry out while handling another," Richman said. "Take time to write out your menu and prep times. Make a schedule and tape it to your cabinet if need be, telling you when to start each dish. Post-its with the time you start each dish on the oven door can also work."

Richman offers one final piece of advice for those manning the kitchen, "don’t overcrowd the oven! You dissipate the energy and everything cooks more slowly." It'll throw off your whole balance. So prep the things you can in advance and plan your cook times carefully.  

So, instead of orchestrating a complicated menu that'll have you darting around the kitchen while your guests are in the next room having fun without you, keep it simple. Come up with a menu that's manageable, or as Andrew Zimmern suggests, rely on your guests to help bring a side dish or two. It'll make your holiday dinner a lot more enjoyable.