A Food Network star shares his tips for throwing the perfect Super Bowl party

Curtis stone andrew zimmernCourtesy of Food NetworkCurtis Stone (left) and Andrew Zimmern (right).

Whether you’re America’s biggest football fan or just in it for the commercials, Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect excuse to have a bunch of friends over for some delicious snacks and beer. 

We caught up with Curtis Stone, host of the new season of Food Network’s “All-Star Academy”, to get his tips on making the best grub for your Super Bowl gathering. 

Business Insider: What are your favourite things to make for the Super Bowl? 

Curtis Stone: Homemade food that can be easily shared with a group and enjoyed with no fuss  —  grab-a-napkin-and-go kind of food.

So with that in mind, I go for dishes that you can dig straight into, like chicken wings and drumsticks, homemade tortilla chips with a seasonal dip, popcorn with some kind of delicious spin (like my Popcorn with Bacon and Parmesan), sliders, cheesy melts (I’ve got a a killer recipe for a smoked trout melt, which is simple to assemble but sophisticated to serve), and how about kick-starting the day with a spicy Bloody Mary? Why not? 

BI: Do you have any tips for people who are cooking for a large group? 

CS: The most important thing hosts should remember is to enjoy themselves. Don’t over-complicate things by going too over-the-top or fancy. Just prepare ahead of time, then relax. The more fun you have, the more fun your guests will have.

Look for recipes and dishes that can be prepared ahead of time — like my Chicken Drumsticks Marinated with Honey and Soy. You marinate them ahead of time, so all you need to do when it comes time to eat is broil for 15 minutes, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve. These sticky drummies pair perfectly with the drink of the day: beer! 

Also, I think people enjoy making something for the game, so if anyone offers to bring a plate, take them up on the offer. 

BI: Is there a way to make Super Bowl snacks healthy? Or is it a day when people should just forget about the calories? 

CS: You don’t have to throw all your healthy eating habits out the window on Super Bowl day. There’s plenty of ways to incorporate fresh, seasonal foods into your day that are exciting and super tasty.

You can whip up a healthy Caesar salad with plenty of greens, some warm flatbread with chickpea hummus, or a white bean dip, sweet potato wedges … the list goes on. However, Super Bowl is a day where I personally let myself go a little and have that extra spoonful of mac and cheese, and I’m probably the one who swipes the last chocolate brownie from the plate. 

BI: I understand you used to play Australian Rules football — what do you think about the football craze in America? How does it compare to Australia?

CS: I did play quite a bit of footy in Melbourne when I was around 16 or 17. I was a decent leader but never had the skills to actually make it on the footy field. And then I found myself in a kitchen and, bizarrely, they require really similar leadership skills. To be a good leader on the footy field is exactly how you have to be in the kitchen: loud voice, lead from the front, put your body on the line, get in early, train hard — all that sort of stuff. Somehow Aussie Rules made me a good chef.

Now that I’m living in LA, I still keep my finger closely on the pulse on Aussie Rules, but I’m also an avid American football fan too. We have a huge grand final celebration at the end of each footy season in Oz, but it’s not quite on the same scale as the world-famous Super Bowl, with the half-time entertainment, the celeb-studded adverts, the cheerleaders — it’s pretty over-the-top here, but I like over-the-top.

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