Decide how hands-on you want the class to be. In a small space, more demonstration might work best. Think about what you want to learn — a specific skill or technique...

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Decide how hands-on you want the class to be. In a small space, more demonstration might work best. Think about what you want to learn — a specific skill or technique, a certain cuisine, a particular dish. Consider trying something you wouldn’t ordinarily do at home for more of a challenge.

• Clarify what’s included in the cost: Many chefs include food in the price, but some supply a shopping list and you must purchase the food separately. Some bring their own dishes and equipment. Most supply recipes. Make sure that clean-up is included in the fee; the mess can be huge.

• Plan on the chef arriving up to two hours before the event to set things up.

• Clear space on your counters, in your refrigerator and empty the dishwasher.

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• A group of eight keeps things intimate and fun; 12 or more may require a culinary assistant so everyone gets enough attention and help.

• Let guests know exactly what you are planning and what they are expected to do.

• Set the time of the party about half an hour before you want to start cooking, so people have a chance to chat and late-comers don’t delay the session.

• Talk to the chef about pairing wines with the food, and include a discussion of why (or whether) they work.