Entertaining Blueprint with Chef Mike Lata

2nd Edition
Mike Lata
Chef Mike Lata knows good food. With a James Beard Award, the wildly popular FIG and highly anticipated The Ordinary restaurants in Charleston, Chef Lata has a few feathers in his cap to prove it. Yet with all the acclaim, he continues to keep things simple. With this classic Southern Lowcountry Boil, ingredients are fresh, the setting is basic, the beer is cold, and all comes together beautifully.
The Food
I have spent some time in Italy, and I have always loved antipasti to start a meal. To start this meal, I like to lay out marinated eggplant with burrata, sliced melon and ham, roasted peppers with anchovies, and some pickled vegetables. Grilled bread rubbed with tomato and olive oil ala pan con tomate is always easy and popular.

With stone crab claws and fresh shrimp, Lata’s is a standout.
The Drinks
Ice cold buckets of beer are an absolute must. In the summer, I tend to gravitate to thirst quenching lagers, pilsners, and white beers, like Modelo Especiale, Point Brewery “nude beach,” Abita Strawberry, and Allagash White.

A bourbon punch can be fun, but you run the risk of them being too delicious and refreshing to moderate! Wine spritzers are a good alternative for the non-beer drinkers.
The Setting
In the theme of keeping things simple, I vote for hosting the Lowcountry Boil in the backyard. Set up a kiddie pool for the little ones and “corn hole” game for some good competition. A picnic table lined with butcher paper or paper grocery bags and plenty of napkins is all you need to get started.
Brooks Reitz, FIG’s General Manager, has been playing full albums at the restaurant lately, and I’ve dug the continual vibe from album to album. My take on that idea is to pick 10 albums that blend pop, classic, and more obscure tunes. Wipe the “i” device clean, then load, shuffle, and play.
Rules of Entertaining
  • With such a busy lifestyle, I wouldn’t think of throwing a party if I couldn’t enjoy it myself. Don’t be afraid to hire a bartender and someone to keep things tidy. It’s a minimal expense and can save you a lot of stress.
  • Plan ahead and do all your work before the guests get there...a good host makes throwing parties look easy.
  • Last but not least, have a cab company’s number handy to help people have a safe alternative to get home.
The Essentials 12 QT Stockpot 6 and 3/4 QT Oval Dutch Oven Large Serving Platter Large Multi Bowl