Largely due to The Yellow Table‘s dinner party, I’ve recently added “attend a Manhattan soiree” to my ever growing bucket list. And if said Manhattan dinner party is half as lovely as this one, I’ll consider myself one very lucky lady. Because this one? Right here? It’s magic. Complete with simple, organic details, inspiring friends from all walks of life, and a gallery filled to the brim with photos from the talented Belathee.
From Anna… There’s nothing that brings me more joy in life than gathering friends around the table to share a homemade meal. I grew up around my family’s yellow table, sharing meals, life, laughter, and conversation every single day. This time spent around the table not only inspired me to eventually become a cook, but it gave me a love of storytelling and a passion for community. Eventually my mom passed the table on to me when I graduated from college, and it currently sits in my apartment in NYC.
After working for years as a private chef, recipe tester, food stylist and writer, I started my blog The Yellow Table as a place to share my recipes and stories – and ultimately to inspire others to gather around their own tables. I always wanted to write a cookbook, and I finally took the plunge and started working on my own last fall. I committed myself to creating the recipes and shooting the food (with photograper Signe Birck) over the course of 100 days in my tiny Manhattan kitchen, which I documented on the blog via The Cookbook Diaries. The book (The Yellow Table: Celebrating the Art of Everyday Abundance) will be out this fall, and in the meantime, I’m driving across the country from NYC to LA to spread the word, and throw a series of dinner parties with some of my favorite bloggers.
To announce the launch of the the book – and the roadtrip! – I wanted to throw a whimsical, spring dinner party at Drift Studio NYC, a dreamy all-white space in West Chelsea. I had done a photo shoot there early on in the book process, and had immediately envisioned a long table full of people eating, drinking, and enjoying themselves. After months of dreaming, the timing felt right this spring when ABC Carpet & Home - my favorite home goods store, and a huge collaborator on my book – offered to partner with me on this event. It was truly a dream come true: they lent tables, chairs, and tableware (runner, plates, silverware, glasses, and vases), and even sent out the invites. I immediately called up my good friend Jenn Elliott Blake, a top-notch stylist (and once of the loveliest people I know), and asked if she’d be willing to fly in from Seattle to style the dinner. (She said yes!) I continued to gather a dream-team of partners: Whole Foods agreed to provide the ingredients, my friend Jean-Luc Le Du (who’s doing wine pairings for the book) selected wines from his shop Le Du’s Wines, Jenn asked Sally Balt to hand-calligraphy placecards and menus, andDorothee Brand (of Belathee Photography) agreed to shoot the event (at the last minute!).
The evening was beyond beautiful. Jenn somehow took the whimsical vision that I had in my mind and brought it to life, with gorgeous, seasonal bouquets of flowers in an assortment of ABC vases, simple white bistro chairs and rustic trestle tables (topping one with an open-weave runner), creative little touches like namecards slid onto forks. The menus were one of my favorite touches: Jenn used a vintage picture of the yellow table and had Sally calligraphy on top; she wanted the yellow table to somehow make an appearance at the event.
I made a simple, spring menu (using recipes from the book): Crudites and Lemon Parsley Tahini Dip and Crostini with Pea-Mint Pesto for hors d’oeuvres; Spring Pea Risotto for starter; Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken with Garlic & Shallots, Roasted Rainbow Carrots, and Shaved Asparagus Salad; and for dessert, Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles.
Most of all, though, I wanted the evening to feel warm and intimate. I wanted everyone to feel as though they were sitting at my yellow table. Even before seeing my cookbook, I wanted everyone to grasp that night what the book was all about: friends, family, and good food. Judging by the fact that people lingered at the table for nearly 3 hours, I think that everyone had a good time!
It was such an incredible honor to collaborate with such an amazing group of people, and a privilege to have the chance to tell the story of my table and my vision for this book. Here’s to more dinner parties, more collaborations, and more courage to pursue dreams!