“Whether it’s just two people dropping by or a full-on planned event, I think everyone will find themselves at some stage during this hectic season – both before and after Christmas – entertaining,” Sara Oteri tells Broadsheet.

By this point the Masterchef alum has got hosting down pat. Preparation is key, and it’s important to have good quality tools to help it all run smoothly.

Luckily it’s also the season of sales, making upgrading kitchenware and home essentials a breeze. And even if you have no plans to entertain, you can still get good use out of these products at home.

Here are Oteri’s recommendations for gadgets and gizmos that make party prep easy.

A cute capsule coffee machine
”I don’t know about you but I can’t get up in the morning without a cup of coffee,” Oteri says with a laugh. “They’re so handy when you have people over. At the end of the night, just being able to pass out a couple of espressos for everyone is great to really finish off a meal.”

Lavazza’s A Modo Mio Tiny Capsule Coffee Machine is – as the name suggests – small enough that it won’t take up too much bench space in the kitchen, but still packs a punch when it comes to making a cuppa.

For brunch dates or sunny gatherings, Oteri says you could even freeze some of your coffee and chuck the cubes into milk for a cold drink.

A good-quality knife set (with a stylish block)
Knives are some of the most important items you can have in your kitchen, and the difference between a cheap starter set and an artfully crafted kit is huge.

This Global Teikoku Knife Block Set has five lightweight stainless steel knives tucked into a bamboo storage block with clear sides that let you view the blade inside.

“For anyone who was ever thinking about properly investing in a set of good knives, now’s the time to do it because you’re going to need every knife in your kit when it comes to entertaining,” Oteri says. “I use Global’s day-to-day; they’re a little bit exxy but they’re a good investment.”

And if five knives aren’t enough, Global also has another set, the Kabuto Black Knife Block Set comes with seven in a block made of plastic, acrylic and a stainless steel finish.

More wine glasses than you think you’ll need
”I think wine tastes better when you drink it out of a nice glass, don’t you?” Oteri says. “Like knives, glasses seriously get a workout through the festive season. Just think about how often you have a drink in your hand – even before you eat, you’re probably already drinking wine.”

Make sure all your bases are covered with glasses for champagne, reds and whites, such as those in the Riedel Vinum 12-Pack. The German-made set includes four each of glasses for cabernet sauvignon or merlot; viognier or chardonnay; and Cuvee prestige glasses perfect for sipping champagne.

“Some people sit on champagne all night and they love that, while some people drink white wines at the very beginning then move onto reds, so having that flexibility is really good,” she adds. “There have definitely been occasions when we’ve had all three glasses out on the table at once.”

A set of small saucepans that won’t crowd your cooktop
”I think it was the last two Christmases where it got to the point where I was cooking and thought, ‘I need a bigger cooktop’. And after that experience I actually did get one,” Oteri shares. “By the time you put all the pans on it, it’s just absolutely chockers.”

But if a bigger cooktop is out of your budget, smaller pots should do the trick. The Scanpan Impact Saucepan Set has three different sizes with matching lids, but all three are narrow enough that you won’t be playing Tetris on the stove. Plus they can be used in the oven, meaning there’s one less roasting pan to wash at the end of the day.

The great thing about all the items Oteri chose is that you likely won’t need to replace them again by next Black Friday, or for years to come. And if you think you don’t need them now, think of someone in your life who does – they make good gifts, too.

“We’re talking about knives, glassware, saucepans, coffee – they’re like fundamentals. You know, they’re just go-to’s,” she says. “In fashion they say you’ve got to have that little black dress and in cooking and entertaining, you have to have all those plus good platters, a good set of plates and crockery you can bust out at any time, the wine glasses, a good set of knives and good set of pots…”

“And I would say – for me, anyway – that a coffee machine is mandatory.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with eBay.

Prices shown are reflective of price at time of writing (27/11/2020). If linked items have sold out head to eBay for more sellers with the same product.

To find eBay Black Friday deals check out this page here. Deals dropping from 8am AEDT 27 November 2020 to 30 November at various times and quantities. eBay Plus exclusive on selected items only. 1 item per person. While stock lasts. T&Cs apply.