How to Host a Potluck Like Dominique Ansel
A pre-set, pulley-operated table descends from the ceiling to welcome guests. Chef Ansel screws on the table legs just before it hits the ground.
Two Types of Noodles
Designer Peter Som channeled Ina Garten, using her recipe for baked mac and cheese, while sugar artist Margaret Braun prepared "Jew-dles" — egg noodles, traditionally used for noodle kugels in Jewish homes — with tomatoes and no less than a cup of butter.
Chef Ansel takes the lead in loading up his plate.
When fine, expensive wine was still out of reach, chef Ansel remembers doctoring the cheap stuff into fruity sangrias. The concoction still holds up.
Pro-Tip: Bring Cheese Dip
How to win over a room, according to Food & Wine editor Lucy Madison: Show up with a bowl full of bright orange queso.
A Photo-Ready Meal
Put enough food-obsessed social media hustlers in one room and this will be a common sight. Scoring the perfect Instagram shot was a high priority.
The ideal cuisine-spanning potluck plate, crowned with a piece of Chicken Marbella. Simon & Schuster editor Emily Graff used a recipe from the Silver Palate for the olive-and-prune studded classic.
Kate Krader's Union Square Café-Inspired Bruschetta
Food & Wine's own Kate Krader brought bruschetta to share. She remembers getting obsessed with the garlicky chopped tomatoes on slabs of toast rubbed with even more garlic after first encountering the simple dish at Union Square Cafe in the early 1990s.
Dominique Ansel's "First Heartbreak" Dessert
Chef Ansel consulted a few of his most loving friends to create his "first heartbreak" dessert. The question: Is a breakup better expressed as a cold dish (like ice cream) or a hot one (like a flambee)? The solution: Both. Light the meringue petals on fire and watch them burn before taking a scoop of the rocky road ice cream and chocolate cake in the middle.
As the wine flowed and the night wore on, conversation ranged from fashion to siblings; from Burning Man to the whaling traditions of Sag Harbor. Leftovers were packed up and sent home with guests. Designer Peter Som's mac and cheese, it turns out, makes for an excellent breakfast.
Glasses of Lustau East India Solera sherry closed out the evening.