Before you host a New Year's Eve soiree, read this list. Hospo pros Paul Carmichael, Gerald Diffey, Monty Koludrovic and Miss Pearls share some truly bankable party wisdom.
■ Everything can't be little pop-and-go style food. That gets annoying. Sometimes people are really hungry, so you want to have a few substantial things. You also need to make sure there are enough places people can put their food down between bites if they're standing up and have a drink going at the same time.
■ If it's a casual party at home, just cook whatever you feel comfortable with and you know will taste good. I'll do something that's not too labour-intensive so I can hang out too. Any big piece of meat such as pork chops or lamb. Prawns too. I would try to do everything on the grill so you're not stuffing around with load of pans.
■ Looks are one thing but, more importantly, you want it to be tasty food. Something cravable that makes you immediately want serving. Sometimes that comes in the for something that's humble, warm and goopy, like a curry.
■ As far as booze goes, I'm a big cocktail guy, so I reckon having something pre-batched is vital. The negroni is perfect because it's easy, stable and tasty. Also have a bottle of whisky lying around, some gin, soda, tonic and loads of ice. And maybe some [bitter artichoke-based amaro] Cynar. I love that stuff.
If you can't walk without sticking to the carpet, people won't worry about tipping their drink on the floor.Gerald Diffey
PAUL CARMICHAEL, MOMOFUKU SEIOBO, SYDNEY
■ Don't keep anyone waiting. Stick a drink in their hand as soon as they walk through the door and have a nibble to stick under their nose 10 minutes after that.
■ If people turn up early and they don't know anyone, befriend them in some way, introduce them around. Keep a full drink in their hand. That's just good hospitality.
■ I don't let people determine what the music is going to be. If you're in my bar you're going to get soul, funk, the classics, then also some garage and punk when people want to get moving. Otherwise they'll put on REM and people will stop drinking and start crying.
■ I think the key is to have an amount of control but don't dominate. Set the scene and then let it go where it's going to go. You can't force parties upon people, but you can grease the wheels.
■ Keep the room neat and tidy – I don't like to see plates and glasses. There's constant gardening. Because if you've set the playing field, people will respect that. If you can't walk without sticking to the carpet, people won't worry about tipping their drink on the floor.
GERALD DIFFEY, GERALD'S BAR, MELBOURNE
■ Make sure your neighbours are on board. Nothing ruins a party like the cops arriving or the neighbours hating you for eternity. You also don't want to be in that situation where you genuinely care about your neighbours being upset, but your mates don't, so you also end up not liking your mates any more. Even pay your neighbours off if you have to – whatever needs to be done.
■ These are kind of life tips as well, but make sure you drink lots of water, wear sunscreen and have enough booze on hand to see you through the party. As funny as it is to say you need to do another booze run, no one really likes doing it, and it means you don't have the chance to curate a drinks list to its full potential.
MONTY KOLUDROVIC, ICEBERGS DINING ROOM AND BAR, SYDNEY
■ Have something wonderful or bizarre hidden around every corner, so that guests are rewarded by exploring.
■ Schedule pop-up events – at least three – through the party, so that people keep getting surprised.
■ Make sure you have strong and whacky theme, so everyone can go all-out, adopt a character, and get involved.
■ Have a cheese table with cheese at gooey room temperature.
MISS PEARLS, MADAME BRUSSELS, MELBOURNE