Celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani knows a thing or two about how to throw a stellar celebration. Her roster of high-profile clients includes Bradley Cooper, Stella McCartney, Matt Damon and The Rolling Stones—and now the entertaining expert is further upping her game: She’s teamed up with chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Mario Batali to create MARIO by Mary, a catering company that combines Batali’s big recipes with her signature small bites. The duo’s menus feature dishes like Italian Pigs in a Blanket, Roman-style arancini, and mini grilled cheese with OTTO’s black truffle honey.
Just in time for the holiday weekend, WE tapped the hosting expert to get her tips for throwing a simple and delicious bash this weekend and beyond.
Grill from the garden: “Get your grill on! Although burgers and hotdogs are delish, we suggest barbecuing from your garden,” says Giuliani. “Kale, beets, and apricots are wonderful on the grill.” And for hors d’oeuvres, she says, “delicious August corn for corn jumbles and apricots for grilling. I like to serve them with ricotta, honey, and basil, basil, and more basil!”
Keep ’em small: Invite as many people as you want—but keep the food bite size. “In addition to being a fun way to serve all your favorites, I’ve found that mini bites just make people happy. At parties, people want to have fun, drink and laugh, and small bites are a great way to feed them without making things too cumbersome,” she says, Got that? Small bites and big drinks.
Drink it in: Prosecco and Bellinis are go-tos for summer soirées, and for Labor Day, Giuliani suggests peach or apricot nectar. “I also love Rosato in late summer and early fall, especially Bonavita’s 2012 Sicilia Rosato. It’s deep, complex and refreshing,” she says. “Mario turned me onto aperol pritzes and I am obsessed. Aperol, Prosecco, and soda with a slice of orange is delicious.”