Athena Calderone Hosts an Autumn-Inspired Dinner Party to Celebrate Her New Cookbook
New York has finally begun to feel like fall, and driving that point home last night was Athena Calderone, who hosted an intimate autumnal dinner party in celebration of her new cookbook, Cook Beautiful, out October 10. Calderone organized the book according to the seasons, and she took the same approach when she tailored everything from the menu to the place settings and the decor. “The home is where I developed my love of interior design and also my love of cooking,” Calderone said, wearing a crushed velvet dress by Jason Wu. “In my 20s, when most of my friends were focused on their careers, I was blissfully developing myself in the kitchen, layering flavors, and inviting friends over for dinner parties. Food has offered me so much in terms of connectivity and community.”
The event was hosted at Calderone’s soon-to-be new home in Dumbo, and she embraced the under-construction vibes by using drop cloths instead of table linens and artfully stringing the construction lights. Because the bathroom mirror had yet to be installed, Calderone hand-sketched an oval with the message “You’re Beautiful” in pencil. Calderone and her husband spent the past two years renovating their new Brooklyn address, which is also where she wrote Cook Beautiful. “Every recipe in the book, and all of those you’ll have tonight, was developed in this janky little kitchen that was one floor above,” she recalled. “The oven was 200 degrees off, and it was really challenging at times to make a soufflé or test a roast, but it all made for an amazing journey and experience.”
During cocktail hour, guests sipped on a special autumn pear concoction crafted from Casa Dragones Blanco tequila, St. George pear liqueur, agave syrup, fresh pear nectar, and lemon-lime juice. Dinner was paired with Krug Champagne and started with a Jerusalem artichoke, celery, and pear salad followed by slow-roasted arctic char with cranberry chutney; pan-roasted chicken with shallots and dates; a side of roasted cauliflower with lemon zest, parsley, capers, and jalapeños; plus farro salad with roasted sweet potatoes, red onions, and goat cheese. In between bites of the pear and hazelnut tart, all took turns Instagramming the stunning tablescape. There were seasonal fruits and vegetables in place of a traditional floral centerpiece. Georg Jensen’s sterling silver candelabrum and porcelain Cobra dinner plates provided the shining finish.