As a party planner, I eat out a great deal and am thrilled to work with some of the nations best restaurant and catering chefs – even, psst, a a lot of celebrity chefs who are starting to get back into their kitchens. That said, I do like to take an occasional cooking class – in Greenwich, I like those from Aux Delices, Debra Ponzek’s gourmet emporium and around the country and in D.C., at Sur La Table, my non-wholesale go-to for all kitchen gadgets and pans. (Side note: I am moving and I cannot begin to tell you how many kitchen things I have – so much for minimalism like I talked about in my knife post!).
This year, I’ve got to step up my knife skills and am hoping to take a class with Master Chef Bob Kramer – check out Sur La Table’s website for his touring schedule. Acquiring good knife skills is key to being a proper home cook/entertainer and sometimes, I need a refresher. Honestly, I am rarely entertaining at home, given my career, but I do love to do it!
That said, I love Le Creuset for enamelware, All-Clad for stainless pans and tools, OXO for hand tools, Le Creuset (again) for bakeware and a regular French press for brewing the perfect coffee. For everyday flatware, I rely on Broadway Panhandler in New York (they have great kids’ tools, too, if you like for your kids to help in the kitchen!) or Pottery Barn nationwide (I like an oversized European bead or Shell and Thread pattern). For splurgy moments, I love Mauviel copper pans and my former celeb chef boyfriend of the last decade actually gave me a Mandoline from Tokyo as a wedding gift to Mr. F4. (Still afraid, that, in search of the perfect ratatouille or sweet potato fry slice, I will slice my hand off!).
Plates? I have about 10 sets of fine and casual china, but to me, food looks best on white, oversized plates. I love the buffet plates and Portuguese soup bowls (they are the wide, shallow ones) from Williams-Sonoma. I accent them with bowls from Ikea. I also love the square small white plates from Crate and Barrel for small plates, olive oils, wasabi and passed hors d’oeuvres at a standing cocktail party. It’s also key to have many oversized white kitchen towels to use as buffet napkins (just tie with raffia) and to polish crystal.
Everyday glassware – any number of the major retailers has stylish choices. I love Picardie tumblers – they are great in any size for wine, juice, iced tea, sparkling water, soft drinks or even as flower vases.
All photos courtesy of Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table & Pottery Barn.