Manu Feildel’s Tips For A Successful Dinner Party, Plus Coq au Vin RECIPE

Whether you’re at home with your family or roommates, or you’re opening up your home to a small selection of close friends, dinner parties are still on the menu in 2020. And if they’re not? There’s no shame in cooking a three-course meal for me, myself, and I.

To help you plan a dinner party now or start dreaming about the bigger parties we can throw in the future, we asked Manu Feildel for his top tips for hosting a dinner party people will remember (for the right reasons!). Plus, we’re sharing a delicious Coq au Vin recipe to add to your repertoire.

Tips for a successful dinner party from Manu Feildel 

  1. Cold canapés on arrival with a glass of champagne will keep your guests busy while you may still be in the kitchen fluffing around;
  2. In the old days, soup was always served at the beginning of a meal and I believe a classic french soup is always welcomed ie: vichyssoise or onion soup; 
  3. A one-pot wonder like a beef bourguignon or a coq au vin plonked in the middle of the table makes your life easy and is always popular;
  4. After you have digested your first few courses, its now time to serve cheese. Make sure it has been out of the fridge for a few hours and not served before the meal — like most Aussies do! 
  5. A tart of some kind, like my favourite tart tatin or my perfect chocolate tart, followed with perhaps an espresso and a digestif is the perfect way to end the meal;
  6. And make sure you have an abundance of different wines for the different courses. 

This August, your cooking can help Breast Cancer Trials get one step closer to a cure for the women you love. Take the 3 Course Challenge and learn how to cook a three-course French feast from top chef Manu Feildel, host a dinner party for friends, and raise money to support life-saving research.You don’t have to be an expert chef, you just need to be ready for some fun in the kitchen and a good time with friends – all in the name of making a difference. Go to to sign up and get involved. 

Now for the recipe.

Manu’s Coq au Vin Recipe

One of the most famous recipes in French cooking, I first learned how to make Coq Au Vin as an apprentice chef. It uses quite a lot of wine, and should be started the day before so you can leave it to marinate overnight, but it tastes sublime!


To marinate:

  • 1.5 litres red wine
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 chicken marylands (leg and thigh)

To prepare:

  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 40 g butter
  • 12 pearl onions
  • 200 g speck or bacon, cut into 1 cm lardons
  • 500 g button mushrooms
  • 100 ml brandy or cognac
  • 2 Tbsp (15 g) plain flour
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

To serve

  • mashed potato
  • fresh parsley, chopped

TIP FROM MANU: I prefer to remove the thigh bone from the chicken marylands before cooking as it makes them easier to eat!


  1. Roughly chop carrot, celery and onion, bruise garlic cloves. Place aromatics in a large bowl with the bay leaf, thyme and chicken marylands, and cover with the wine. Refrigerate 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to marinate.

  2. Drain the chicken, reserving wine, and discard vegetables. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.

  3. Add oil and butter to a large heavy-based pot over medium heat. Add onions and bacon and cook for a few minutes to caramelise. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes until mushrooms start to turn golden. Spoon onions, mushrooms and spec into a separate bowl, leaving the oil in the pot.

  4. Add marinated chicken to pan, skin-side down and leave for 3 – 4 minutes until it turns a dark golden colour. Return onions, mushrooms and spec to the pan with the chicken and add bay leaves and sprigs of fresh thyme. Sprinkle over flour and stir gently.

  5. Add cognac and light to flambe, then add in the reserved wine from the marinade and cover with a paper lid to keep chicken submerged. Bring to the boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 1½ – 2 hours, until sauce has thickened and chicken is falling off the bone.

  6. Serve chicken over mashed potato, with a generous ladle of onions, mushrooms, bacon and sauce. Top with parsley.

The Sauce by Manu is available at selected Woolworths stores (RRP$5)

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