Sugarplum, come on in. You’re just in time to meet our chic friend, fashion designer Peter Som. As you may know, our culinary couturier has an uncanny ability to find cohesion with all kinds of ingredients – his style aesthetic ranges from classic and elegant to quirky and colorful – and he’s just as masterful at mixing herbs and spices. In fact, Peter’s minestrone is the stuff of legends on the New York dinner party circuit. Hungry for the details? Well, grab your Côtes du Rhône and cozy up, mes chéris. Your party favor is Peter’s famed minestrone recipe.
What’s your entertaining style?
Casual and relaxed. It’s all about making my guests feel at ease. I love having friends over to my apartment for a casual dinner. For winter, I love duck breast with a super crispy skin with roasted Brussels sprouts. I prep as much as possible in advance so I won’t be stressed—after all, I want to enjoy the party as much as my guests! And I have an open kitchen so I can socialize while I cook.
Peter in his New York City kitchen with EyeSwoon’s Athena Calderone
What’s the last party you hosted?
A friend’s birthday party at my apartment. I served brown-rice sushi and shochu cucumber mojitos. My friend – pastry chef Zac Young – made brownies encased in chocolate chip cookie dough. They were so good! I kept the décor simple with mint julep cups filled with red and orange roses. I’m not the best flower arranger but, trust me, mint julep cups filled with flowers are a fail-proof arrangement that anyone can do.
You just found out that you have eight people coming for dinner. What do you do?
This happens all the time! I always have a stash of homemade soups in my freezer and fresh produce in my fridge, so I’ll throw together a soup and salad for a light dinner or make a pasta—Cacio e Pepe or a quick Romesco sauce. For dessert, my go-to is always Affogato – vanilla ice cream and espresso with some slivered toasted almonds on top. You can’t go wrong.
From whom did you receive your most treasured thank you note?
Vogue’s Anna Wintour with Peter
What party do you wish you could back in time attend?
Paul Poiret’s 1911 Thousand and Second Night Party
What’s the most memorable party you attended?
Natalia Vodianova’s Love Ball at Valentino’s Château de Wideville
Natalia Vodianova at the Love Ball
Who’s the most fascinating person you’ve ever met at a party?
Who’s your dream dinner partner?
You’ve dressed everyone from Kerry Washington and Allison Williams to Camilla Belle and Jessica Biel for the red carpet. Who would you love to design a party dress for?
You’re so well-known for color and floral prints. You were even invited to create a vivid, print-filled collection for Anthropologie. How do you bring that aesthetic to your party décor?
I love color and always bring color and print into my parties with flowers. Peonies are my favorite. Often one bold statement is all you need. For example, in the winter, I buy magnolia branches and put them in a large glass vase and surround them with votive candles.
A Lily of the Valley centerpiece
If money were no object, what would you buy at the flower market and what would you create?
I would create a field of Lily of the Valley on a long, long dining table.
What inspires your creativity?
Everything! Film, art, my friends and definitely NYC.
Wha are your favorite party resources?
Party Rental Ltd, the flower market in NYC and John Derian
Some of Peter’s favorite cookbooks
What are your three party pet-peeves?
Bad lighting, paper plates and dinners that start hours later than planned
What are your three party must-haves?
Cloth napkins, fresh flowers and champagne
Peter Som’s Minestrone
What’s the next party you’ll host?
A dinner at my place where I’ll make my signature minestrone soup and serve it with homemade crusty warm bread. Download Peter Som’s minestrone recipe here.
Thanks, Peter. That sounds as scrumptious as your fashion confections. We feel a cozy dinner party coming on, doll.