Their enthusiasm is scarcely surprising, for Benasra, creator and owner of Baby Guess and Guess Home Collection, is not only a genial host, he's also an accomplished amateur chef. Add to this the fact that he cooks out of what must be one of the most appealing outdoor kitchens in southern California, and it's easy to understand why Benasra's friends so anxiously await his summons.
Benasra's outdoor kitchen has become such an important part of his entertaining style that it's hard to believe it is actually a fairly recent addition to his home. In fact, the kitchen-- which he designed himself-- fits so seamlessly with the rest of the house in a graceful L that it seems as if the kitchen has always been there. Or as if it had been transported in its entirety from Benasra's birthplace in southern France. Which is the point: "I like things that look and feel comfortable, as if they've been around forever," Benasra says, a personal philosophy that could be said to extend to the casual, lived-in fabrics and furnishings of Guess Home.
When Benasra sets the table in his outdoor kitchen, he usually begins with a pair of quilted cotton runners from Guess Home, which he transforms into a tablecloth. On top of that he places Guess Home napkins, with naps that have been softened nearly to the feeling of silk, and plates that are a mixture of antiques and his company's designs. Often, Benasra will scatter dozens of glass or brass candlesticks, the bounty of his frequent flea-market forays, down the length of the table.