In the latest issue of The Agency Magazine, two world-renowned curators of coziness and class share their seasonal tips and tricks for luxuriant entertaining—right in the comfort of home.
Jenni Kayne is the modern entertaining genius behind a complete lifestyle brand—from wardrobe essentials to everything that makes a house a home, Jenni creates effortless staples without sacrificing style or comfort.
Executive Head Chef, Rafaelle Lenzi helms Sereno Hotels’ Al Mare Restaurant at Le Sereno St. Barts and Ristorante Al Lago at Il Sereno in Lake Como. Chef Lenzi has earned his stripes working in Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide, aiming to both surprise and delight guests through the use of various consistencies and contrasts.
“I want everyone to feel welcome and cozy,” says Jenni in the feature. “Winter and holiday gatherings are so special because of the celebratory nature that’s in the air, and I try to bring that sense of the season to every event. Sit-down dinners are great when you’re wanting something a bit more intimate, but I always like to keep these types of gatherings more casual by serving dinner family-style and making sure the guest list is a bit more limited. Informal parties with hors d’oeuvres are perfect for the busy moments of the season when you want to keep your gatherings simple yet impactful. I like to make a large, batched cocktail for self-serve ease and a few different appetizers, and then mingle with my guests freely. I think the visuals and overall aesthetic elevate any experience, especially when you’re indoors. That of course comes down to the tablescape and décor around your space.”
Go for the Unexpected
“In describing the dishes I make on the menu, I tend to be very basic,” says Chef Lenzi. “I don’t want to communicate the message that our food is too difficult or elaborate. When the dishes arrive at the table, however—perhaps precisely for this reason—customers are blown away: from the gustatory point of view, because my recipes are both tasty and light, but also from the aesthetic point of view. When customers expected gnocchi served in the classic way, I served them plattered and when reading cardoncelli mushrooms, they expected them already cut, I served them whole. Another aspect of my cuisine that pleasantly surprises customers is amuse bouche and petit-four. We anticipate the amuse bouche in the menu and serve them at the beginning of dinner, as small, more structured plates rather than as actual snacks. As for the petit-four, however, the same speech made before is valid. The attention to detail is obsessive, even more so for the size of the desserts we bring to the table. Now, my petit-four is made up of tiramisu with chicory coffee, cream puffs with porcini, black peel root with licorice, Tarte Tatin of peaches and rosemary and pumpkin and chocolate. Here too, at the end of the meal, customers have the opportunity to experiment with new tastes and feel pampered simultaneously.”
Delight In the Details
“It’s all about the experience, which always comes to life through the details,” says Jenni. “Florals go a long way, and I always try to draw on my surroundings by bringing in branches and other blooms that feel festive. I also think that smaller touches like personalized cards at every place setting and parting gifts make every guest feel special. I like to drape our Jenni Kayne Sheepskins on sofas and dining benches for guests to get cozy and light our Glass Candles throughout the space to create a luxe experience. Our Pacific Dinnerware and linen tabletop accessories can pull any tabletop scene together instantly, and you can’t underestimate the power of a great playlist!”
Read the full feature here, which includes a recipe for Jenni’s Hot Toddy and Chef Lenzi’s Savoy Cabbage, Sencha Tea, Annurca Apple Sorbet and Foie Gras Terrine.