Confession: We're addicted to Zac Posen's Instagram. Amid the frothy floor-sweeping red carpet creations, the designer sprinkles in another kind of creation—from his kitchen. Week after week, the chef whips up drool-worthy dishes, from festive Christmas almond lavender pound cake to savory quinoa and vegetable stir-fry. Even though we wish we were #cookingwithzac, the least we can do is emulate his flair. So, we tapped into the mind of the master himself for holiday entertaining tips and tricks. Find out how he makes guests feel at home, his number one tip for hosting and more:
How did you get into cooking?
"I love cooking. I started watching cooking shows when I was 7, and practice makes perfect!"
How do you find the time to cook/entertain?
"It relaxes me. After a long, busy day at the studio I look forward to some time in the kitchen to whisk, bake, and serve a delicious meal."
What do you do to make guests feel at home?
"I always want my guests to have a special and joyous experience. As soon as they arrive, I leave the kitchen alone to focus on them and enjoy their company."
Are there any special, unique touches that you do?
"Every dinner-party has its own unique flair. The table setting changes according to the message I want to convey: Lush china in Limoges porcelain; mirror polished stainless steel silverware; and rich floral arrangements will help set a dramatic tone. Place settings can be glamourized with a special memento the guests can take home. A flower arrangement with ferns and lily of the valley is always a great final touch."
What's your #1 tip for hosting?
"It’s all about preparation and presentation."
What are your go-to dinner recipes?
"I always like a diverse array of fresh, savory and colorful options for both mean-eaters and vegetarians. Crudites is always a necessity. I always prepare an assortment of beautifully cut vegetables and arrange them as a bouquet. For dipping sauces I like to blend with miso, pureed cashew, a dash of spicy yuzu sauce sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, and grated ginger. To initiate the party, champagne-infused cocktails are fun and refreshing. For those who don’t like bubbles, spiced wines are a nice alternative—warm up a port and serve it in an old inherited punch bowl."
For dinner parties, do you have assigned seating?
"I usually like to let my guests pick their seats, though that depends on how formal the dinner-party is."
Which do you prefer: Paper vs. email invites? And why?
"If I’m hosting a formal dinner, I send a paper invitation. For a casual soiree, I opt for an email or a text message."
If you're not hosting, what do you bring as a guest?
"I love flowers—deep purples and pinks—or a vintage bottle of wine."