How often do you entertain?
Mark: We throw a party at least once a week in the summer. At our country house in Bridgehampton, New York, we have lots of interesting options in terms of where to entertain. We just set out a dining table in the garden, where we like to eat in the open air. There’s also a screened-in living room adjacent to the kitchen with a wood-burning fireplace that we use quite a bit for cooking. That fireplace often inspires what we’ll make for a party.
How do you decide what to cook?
Mark: We’re very spontaneous. At the last minute, we’ll look at each other and go, "Hmmm, steak, fish " and get in the car and go to the market. We’ll put fish or steak or chicken onto Brazilian skewers that are about 20 inches long, with a handle on one end—a Brazilian chef friend gave them to us. There are holes drilled into the back of the fireplace, and we stick the end of the skewers in the holes and turn them like spits. We also have a fantastic garden—there are no flowers, it’s a green garden— so sometimes we’ll do just salads and vegetables. We have this big wooden salad bowl we bought in South Africa that is 24 inches in diameter and two inches thick. Juli does an incredible lardon salad. She also bakes these killer fruit tarts, with a crust that’s paper-thin like a pizza. I’ve seen people on strict diets cave the moment they see them.
How many guests do you invite to a dinner party?
Juli: We’ve had 12 at a time. We usually look at each other and go, "We’re at eight already, what difference does it make if we have 10?" Then, all right, let’s just do 12 instead and fill up the whole table. Mark: And to be honest, it’s easier to cook for that number of people than a smaller number. Also, it looks better to have a lot of stuff on the table than a little bowl of food for six people.