Potluck Wars

In theory potlucks are the easiest type of dinner parties to throw.  You, the host, only have to worry about making one dish and then all the stress of entertaining is gone, right?  Well, that may be the case when we are a bit older and people take on the responsibilities of attending a potluck more seriously.  For us millennials, most of our ‘potlucks’ entail people bringing chips & salsa, and if someone is really generous a pre-made dish from the grocery store.

In a nutshell, it never works out.  People end up drinking a ton on near empty stomachs, and getting takeout on their way back home from a potluck.  Well there is no way I’m letting my friends get off that easy so I decided to host a ‘potluck wars’ dinner party. Let’s be real, the element of competition makes everyone try harder.

Hosting a competition-show style potluck this party is guaranteed to either have copious amounts of good food (or glob, depending on how well these guys can follow a recipe.)

The Rules

Each confirmed attention party guest will be randomly assigned 3 things:

1. A competitor. Create pairings also by a random hat draw. Each course & ingredients will have 2 people preparing it. For example both Eben & Steve had to prepare an appetizer featuring chicken wings.

2. A course to prepare a dish for (appetizer, entree, dessert). The easiest way to do this is to give one to each pair and repeat as many times needed.

3. A required feature ingredient.  Choose ingredients that are seasonal, affordable & easily found.  It’s summer so I chose ingredients like corn, basil & peaches.  I did a random hat draw for each pairing. (ex. My friends Erinique & Nikki both were assigned to make an entree featuring red potatoes.)

Hosting Duties

1. Be sure to follow up with all confirmed guests, and give them their assignment at least 3 days prior to the dinner party.  These are your friends, not a ‘Chopped’ challenged, so give them ample time to plan their victories.

2. Join on in. Include yourself in the competition.

3. Get prizes.  My dinner party was on a Saturday night, so prizes were either food or booze related (measuring spoons, cocktail shaker, mustache bag clips, etc.)

4. Be supplied.  Have blank papers & tons of pens/pencils/crayons so people can vote. Do you want to do dishes or use paper plates, disposable utensils, paper napkins?  What about beverages? Vino is always the best choice. Plus most stores have great deals if you buy 6 or more bottles.

5. Prepare for last minute guests. There are always a few.  Up until the day before the potluck, include them in and assign them a dish & partner (you may need to compete twice if there’s an odd #).  If they hit you up the day of wanting to come, have them bring drinks.  No one should come to a potluck, or any dinner party at that empty handed.


Party guests will vote for 2 things:

1. Best of each dish pairing.

2. Best dish of the night


Yay! Finally a dinner party with tons of food and drink.  Make a playlist or put on a fun Pandora station.  My favorite Pandora station at the moment is a mixed one I made with Stromae, Clean Bandit & Keisza.

Kiano Moju


Founder of Culinary Inspo. Kiano is a California raised foodie with a big travel bug and even bigger appetite to explore the world's food and cultures.

  1. LOL, HOW FUN! My friends are mostly foodies, so we never have an issue with potlucks. They are always over-the-top fabulous (and yes, I suspect they are also competitive–a lot of pride on the line). I’m sure your party will be long remembered and definitely anticipated if you do it again. What a great host. 🙂

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