How To Plan a Foolproof, Instagram-Friendly Dinner Party

Elettra Wiedemann shares her do’s and don’ts for the ultimate summer dinner party.

Lucy Schaeffer

At 34 years old, Elettra Wiedemann, daughter of Isabella Rossellini, is already a woman of many hats: fashion model; Lancôme spokesperson; London School of Economics graduate (with a masters in biomedicine, no less); restauranteur; writer; television host—the list goes on. But today, particularly if you are one of her nearly 18,000 Instagram followers, Wiedemann may be best known as a foodie—specifically, an impatient one. Let her explain.

“Being an impatient foodie means you are somebody who wants to be thoughtful and conscious about the food that you are making and where it is coming from, but you are also want to take out all of the preciousness that surrounds a lot of food conversations,” she told W. “You want to have delicious food on the table that is supportive of local community farmers, but you don’t want to spend 45 minutes talking about artisanal jam and pickles.”

Wiedemann launched her website of the same name back in 2014, filling the site with recipes, cooking tips, humorous features, and the occassional think-piece. This summer, she also published a cookbook of the same name via Simon & Schuster. Recently, the new author held a dinner at Luxury Retreats in Southampton, where she cooked dishes straight from the book. Here, Wiedemann breaks down her Hamptons hot spots and shares easy summer cooking tips, especially for an Instagram-friendly dinner party.

What is your favorite thing to cook in the summer?

It honestly really depends on how hot and humid it is. If it is really hot out, I like making a gazpacho made with radishes—there is one in the cookbook that I think is excellent because it is crisp and light and summery. I also like to make very fast, simple things that don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen and being around heat, like pasta or a simple fish, or even something that I don’t really have to cook, like smoked fish with a simple salad.

What is your foolproof menu for a summer barbecue?

Everybody has different needs, dietary and otherwise, so I always have burgers and chicken. There are also these fantastic new vegan burgers out called Beyond Burger Patties that are so delicious and high in protein and iron, but also smell grilled and taste like a real burger. I also love to throw seasonal vegetables that I find at the farmer’s market on the grill, and you can serve it with a bunch of burrata. It’s just a winner.

Elettra Wiedemann at the Luxury Retreats X Impatient Foodie Dinner.

Lucy Schaeffer

What is one easy dish that everyone should be able to master, and why?

A big game-changer for me, personally, was learning how to cook fish in parchment paper and baking it. It is not only fast and easy, but it requires minimal cleanup.

What is your go-to summer cocktail?

I’m not drinking this summer because I am pregnant with my first baby. I really love the watermelon jalapeño lime margarita in my book, so if I could be drinking anything this summer, it would be that.

What are some of your favorite recipes in the book?

There are so many; summer is all about lighter fare and things that are quick and easy. My miso potato salad is really one of my favorite things in the book. I grew up in New York City around weak potato salad, so I don’t have very many good memories of potato salads, but the one that I managed to create for the cookbook is absolutely delicious, fast to make, and unexpected. It’s not drowned in mayonnaise. And then I’d have to say my beet ricotta spaghetti; anytime I make it, I just dream about it for the rest of the week, and anytime I serve it at a dinner party, it’s a huge winner.

What is one food trend you can’t get behind?

I’m not a big food trend person. I don’t even really know what food trends are happening right now. I just eat things and explore different cuisines that I like, and if I like something, I’ll continue to buy it and cook it. I’m not very wrapped up in those trends.

Wiedemann’s beet risotto spaghetti.

Lucy Schaeffer

How much do you consider the table settings when hosting a dinner?

I don’t that much. I wish I was a little bit better about it, but I’m mostly too impatient to cultivate and create an incredible table. I’m always very jealous of people like Athena Calderone who just makes everything look so perfect and beautiful. I’m totally not that person. I inherited a bunch of Japanese antique plates and settings from my grandparents, so luckily I have a little bit of help with that, but it’s absolutely through no effort of my own.

What is your take on Instagramming your food before you eat it?

Now that I work in food, it is kind of my job to Instagram food, but I always forget, so I’m really bad at it. I don’t really mind when people do it, but if they take twenty minutes to take a picture of a plate, that is kind of annoying. I personally always forget because I’m so desperate to dig into my meal.

Related: Athena Calderone’s Guide to Marrakech Involves Shopping for Rugs and Subterranean Spas

21 Pretty Summer Dresses That You Can Wear All Day Long This Summer Without Changing

Photo by Bruce Weber. W Magazine, July 2008.

Protagonist Silk-Satin Midi dress, $390,

Isabel Marant Oury Asymmetrical Sleeveless Dress, $760,

Emilio Pucci Sleeveless Tiered Dress, $1,465,

Realisation The Alexandra – Italia Spot, $195,

Khaite Leilani Crepe Dress $1,268,

La Double J Editions Ninfea One Love, $680,

Brock Didier ruched cotton and silk-blend dress, $2,290,

Thierry Colson Raffia ruched cotton-blend voile dress, $693,

Merlette Paraggi dress, $420,

Doen Assam dress, $258,

Zimmerman Gossamer floral-embroidered silk dress, $969,

Lisa Marie Fernandez ruffled-hem broderie-anglaise cotton slip dress, $800,

Rhode Resort Ella Floral-print cotton dress, $365,

Loup Charmant Elba Silk Dress, $685,

Three Graces London Almost a Honeymoon cotton dress, $379,

The Row Yellin stretch-cady maxi dress, $1,709,

Lemaire floral-print slip dress, $850,

Magda Butrym Sheer knitted dress $1,748,

Sonia Rykiel broderie anglaise-trimmed cotton-sateen shirt dress, $960,

Alaia Perforated cotton mini dress $3,360