Meredith Hayden is a professional chef, recipe developer, and TikTok star who has amassed nearly a million followers on social media. Known as @wishbonekitchen on TikTok, Meredith’s entertaining and aesthetic videos chronicle her life as a private chef in New York City and the Hamptons. Her feed is filled with gorgeous decorations, beautiful beverages, and so much delicious food. Just looking at her TikTok page, it’s clear that Meredith knows how to host an incredible dinner party. We were lucky enough to interview her about her summer hosting tips and the Lighter Life Summer Refresh, a collaboration with Corona Premier and TaskRabbit.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Spoon University: What is your advice for newer hosts working with limited space and budget, i.e. college students?

Meredith Hayden: My biggest tip would be to keep it simple. You don't want to overextend yourself by trying to do too many complicated dishes. Sticking to just two or three really solid dishes will definitely cause less stress than trying to overexert yourself.

SU: Any go-to dishes that you would recommend?

MH: I think my favorite easy and cost-effective dish to make for a crowd is pasta. It's a great way to stretch a few expensive ingredients to feed more people. It's also super filling and everybody loves pasta. So you won't have anyone upset with that!

SU: What are your favorite tips for arranging bites and beverages, especially for college students who might be working with limited space?

MH: I love setting up a family style buffet. If I’m in a small space and I’m making pasta or something like that, I'll just encourage guests to serve themselves straight out of the pot. But if you're getting more fancy and you're setting up a whole buffet table, I love doing little note cards that have the names of each dish with a little description, so guests know what they're eating when they're serving themselves.

SU: Do you have any advice for planning how much food and drink to prepare to ensure everyone has enough without overextending yourself?

MH: A good rule of thumb for beverages is to assume everyone will have between two and three drinks. As far as portioning food, the rule of thumb for proteins is usually half a pound of meat or fish per person. If you're doing something like pasta, you can refer to the serving suggestion on the side of the box, and I always round down a little bit. It's a pound of pasta, the box says it feeds four, but I think a pound of pasta probably would feed closer to two or three. And I always make a little bit of extra food just in case, because I don't want people to be hungry and angry.

SU: What is your favorite quality ingredient worth investing in for hosts on a tighter budget?

MH: I think one ingredient that’s really worth investing in is using fresh citrus instead of a citrus concentrate, because you can really tell the difference. It really shows, especially in cocktails when you use fresh lime juice instead of lime juice concentrate, and fresh lemon juice can be used in so many different dishes. I am such a proponent for using fresh citrus, and I use it in almost everything I make. It's definitely worth paying an extra few dollars for fresh lemons or limes.

SU: Any favorite dishes a college student could make for a summer party?

MH: I think a nice pasta al limone would be great for a crowd, and it really only uses four ingredients. It's just the pasta, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest. In my mind it’s kind of like a grown-up mac and cheese because you use so much parm and it's super cheesy, but with the lemon it's really balanced and great for summer.

SU: Any summer party decoration tips?

MH: I always love fresh florals. But if you're going through the trouble of investing in fresh citrus, it can also double as a decorative piece. You can arrange some fresh lemons in a bowl in the middle of the table, and maybe you don't use those lemons today, use them tomorrow. It's a great way to get more bang out of your buck.

SU: What are your top summer hosting tips?

MH: Tip number 1: Instead of playing bartender all night, set out a big bucket of beers and prepare a big batch of a fun signature drink such as a “Spicy Corona Premier.”

Tip number 2: Build a menu that will complement the flavors of the signature drink. It creates a nice cohesive theme, and using the same ingredients and flavor profiles will likely help cut your shopping list and prep time.

Tip number 3: Arrange everything family style and encourage guests to serve themselves. Embracing a lighter, laid-back vibe will help remove the stress from entertaining, and free you up to enjoy the party.

SU: Do you have any advice for pairing the food and the drinks for a good match?

MH: I've actually worked with Corona to develop a recipe for a beer cocktail. We've named it the “Spicy Corona Premier,” and it has flavors of cucumber, lime, jalapeno and cilantro. All of those flavors pair super well with the Corona Premier beer. I've also used those flavors to inspire an appetizer recipe, a shrimp tostada. So an easy way to match your food with your beverages is to use the same ingredients.

SU: How can the Corona Premier Lighter Life Summer Refresh help hosts gear up for summer?

MH: One thing I always make sure to do before hosting is clean out my fridge because fridge real estate is super important, which is why I partnered with Corona Premier as part of their Lighter Life Summer Refresh program. They've teamed up with Task Rabbit to help hosts clear out their fridges and get rid of all of their unwanted and unnecessary beverages that they might have leftover from dinner parties past.

To enter the sweepstakes, all you have to do is follow @CoronaUSA, @Taskrabbit, and @WishboneKitchen on Instagram and comment on the collab post between Corona and Wishbone Kitchen using #CoronaPremierLighterLife. Winners will receive Taskrabbit credit to book a local Tasker who can help them lighten their fridge of unwanted and unopened beverages and will leave a gift card to purchase Corona Premier.