Fun fact: Before starting his high-performance CBD company, Plant People, Gabe Kennedy (@gabe_kennedy) spent years training as a chef. But to him, the key to hosting a great dinner party is more preparation and participation than perfection.

1. Keep it simple

Remember that less is more and family style wins. The more straightforward you make the experience for yourself, the more enjoyable it will be. I tend to choose large format proteins (like filets of fish or a whole chicken) and two vegetables as a staple.

2. Prep ahead

Try to get the heavy lifting out of the way before your guests arrive. That should ensure a smooth evening and allow you to actually participate in the party. I lay out my mise en place on the counter, organized by dish so all I have to do is throw something in the oven or finish it on the stove.

3. Greet your guests

Music, snacks, and scents are a great way to tap into the senses and make guests feel welcome. I always choose a playlist (Spanish and French tunes rock), prepare a cheese board for grazing, and make a few inclusive (aka not always alcoholic) beverages.

4. Make it interactive

Serving family style food with a little assembly required helps people connect and let them customize their plate. I also like to pose a few questions for discussion at the beginning of the party to set the mood. One of my favorites is "tell me about your first experience with cannabis" - it always makes for a lively discussion.