After yet another dinner party where we spent most of the time in the kitchen, we need to find new tactics to deal with our small condo galley kitchen ( living in a city where real estate is extremely expensive --- a bigger kitchen is not an option).
Our present tactics are:
Have empty dishwasher at beginning of evening and have sink and dish rack empty for items such as side plates and glasses that may need to be handwashed and reused in evening
Set dinner table and have appies set out before guests arrive
Have a make ahead dessert and as many make ahead sides as possible without compromising quality
Have mise en place ready for items being assembled or cooked at the moment.
Continuously clean ( put items in dishwasher or handwash/ put in cupboards) as cooking and changing courses
Short of making a one pot dish which is not always compatible with our foodie reputations, I don't know what else we can do.
What we find is that once the finishing and serving of the dishes begin/ dishes come back it all goes to hell. We either spend too much time in the kitchen to keep ahead of the space limitations or build huge piles of dishes which slows down the process of items coming out anyways.