Finding a lush grassy spot under a tree to lay out a picnic blanket and smother with food is a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. However, it seems that the most challenging aspect of planning a picnic isn’t finding an idyllic location — it is actually determining the ultimate summer picnic menu! John Kurapatwa, executive chef of Italian restaurant Spigola Ristorante in the US, shares his tasty tips for packing your picnic basket with his favourite selection of tantalising summer picnic recipes.
Packing the perfect picnic basket
Who better than a professional chef to suggest tasty picnic tips and recipes?! Don’t panic, though: just because he’s an expert, that doesn’t mean you need to be a culinary whiz to follow his lead. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of Chef John Kurapatwa’s picnic suggestions, which are not only relatively easy to prepare, but they’re tasty too.
Have a theme
“If it’s a romantic lunch for two, pack a CD of love songs and bite-sized foods to feed each other,” Chef Kurapatwa advises. “If it is family outing, then make sure to bring easy, fun things for the kids to eat and some games to entertain them.”
With 20 years of culinary experience, Chef Kurapatwa knows the importance of being prepared. “Planning ahead will allow you to pack only necessary items and help you resist the urge to keep adding things to your basket,” he explains. “Bring the essentials, including your favourite foods, some comfortable pillows and a blanket.”
Pack the items properly
Chef Kurapatwa recommends using hot and cold packs to keep foods at their proper temperatures, keeping in mind that frozen beverages such as iced tea and soft drink make great ice packs. “Make sure that wine bottles and any other breakable items you bring are packed securely and cushioned against breakage,” Kurapatwa says.
“Also pack condiments, sauces and liquids, such as dressings, securely in tupperware or other tight-lidded containers. The last thing you want is a nasty spill ruining the rest of the food in your basket.”
Don’t forget to clean up
Make sure you bring items such as napkins, wipes, paper towels and garbage bags to make cleaning up easy and manageable.