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My summer dinner party: Joy and Greg Margolis

How the Nantucket-based chefs entertain a crowd

Joy and Greg Margolis, co-founders of the Nantucket Culinary, a culinary educational community hub in the center of the island’s cobblestone downtown, are at the forefront of island cuisine. Their luxurious dinner parties feature seaside views, farm-to-table produce, and locally-sourced cocktail ingredients.

Joy's advice for novice dinner party hosts: “Start early and don't try to do anything complicated that you haven't done before. Stick to your tried-and-true and whatever you can make in advance—do. Most cold sides actually improve after a day or two in the fridge.”

Here, the duo shares an inside look at how they entertain guests during the warmer months.

on the menu

“Summer is the season for grilling and the stars of our meal are classic Americana: hand-packed burgers and spice rubbed tri-tip steak, with modern twists on familiar picnic sides. Roasted fingerlings dial up the volume on traditional potato salad, and two imaginative takes on coleslaw spotlight vibrant, local produce. We like to serve Asian red cabbage with caraway seeds and a light vinaigrette and carrot slaw tossed in cilantro lime juice. Topping mixed greens with fresh strawberries (grown on Nantucket), blueberries, and diced ricotta salata cheese makes for a beautiful red, white,​ and blue salad. Marinated tomato and cucumber salad is always a crowd pleaser and spicy pickled vegetables make perfect accoutrements to your grilled entrees. Spread Portuguese bread with sweetened ricotta and a smear of strawberry jam for dessert.”

what we’re drinking

“Batch cocktails and craft beers are easy to prepare and provide something for everyone. No host wants to spend all evening fielding orders behind a bar. We’ll mix Triple 8 blueberry vodka with soda and frozen berries for a crisp, light cocktail. On a hot day, Cicso Brewery’s Grey Lady Belgian beer (made on Nantucket) is refreshing garnished with a slice of orange.”

the decor

“We’ll arrange local wildflowers in mason jars interspersed with vintage finds from thrift shops such as small wooden bowls, brass candelabras, and tiny votives. Our approach is casual elegance with rustic charm. Having a nearby bonfire is great for late-night seating and of course roasting s’mores.”

the guest list

“Summer means hosting culinary artisans from around the island, neighbors, and friends. Oh, and kids…lots of kids.”

the playlist

“Hosts sometimes get caught up planning a playlist to please everyone: You end up with Kool & the Gang and the Village People. Not on Nantucket. Our go-to tracks will include plenty of '90s gangsta rap and some southern rock staples.”