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129: Don't show up empty-handed
Sue Chan taps experts to share the gifts your dinner host will actually use.
There’s an ancient Roman maxim that holds: “The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is between three, for the number of Graces, to nine, for the number of Muses.”
In that spirit, Care of Chan’s Sue Chan has invited an even six members of her community to this week’s digital dinner party, the central conversation of which is the giving of successful host gifts. How better to show your appreciation as a gracious guest than with a token your host will actually use?
Sue, the phosphorous of New York’s food scene against which up-and-comers will strike, has been on both sides of her share of dinner parties, and even made a career of it through her eponymous events agency. Care of Chan has propped up restaurants, chefs, and food stylists, florists, venues, cake makers, and more, a Rolodex it’s recently made public through a new editorial site.
Below, Sue asks a tight edit of tastemakers across film, fashion, design, and food with a love and predilection for throwing home gatherings about the things they always have on hand when they host—and which would make great host gifts.
Sue S. Chan, @sueperchan, Founder, Care of Chan
One of my favorite gifts that I’ve ever received is my set of Alessi’s silver Mediterraneo salad serving utensils. The design is unique and always a conversation starter, and they are also so versatile and have helped me serve pretty much any dish I’ve had at dinner parties.
Dana Arbib, @dana.yolanda.arbib, Designer
I always use linen dinner napkins over paper since it’s the chicest and most sustainable way to go. Gohar World has some of the chicest options.
Karolyn Pho, @karolynpho, Stylist
As if hydrating wasn’t already cute, my Serax Fish Bottle is how I make it even cuter. I especially like that you can pop it in the fridge before your guests arrive because chilled water shows your guests that you care.
Zohar Benjelloun, @zoharbee, Fashion Executive
I always have Trudon Taper Candles lit when guests come over. Because I’m sensitive to lighting, candles along with a table lamp is the perfect combo that can really change the whole mood of a room for me. While the candles can be a bit on the pricier side, I haven’t been able to find these exact colors anywhere else, like Cornflower Blue, Madeleine Red, and Grey Royale.
Madison Brigode, Executive Producer
Charles Vianci’s Floral Bottle Stoppers are the best for when you have a leftover bottle of wine. Because they are flat, the bottle actually fits into your fridge. Not to mention, they are festive and cheap.
Ashley Hildreth, @ashley_hildreth, Creative Strategist
The handmade wax candles from the Monks of The Monastery of St. John, in California, are my dining table must-have. Their naturally sweet aroma and warm light never compete with the meal.
Magdalena O'Neal, @hotdotlena, Chef & Writer
My go-to hosting items are a roll of kraft paper and a pack of Sharpies. I sometimes use the kraft paper as a disposable surface for a lovely spread of food. Once the party is over, I just toss out the leftovers with ease. Plus, I can write directly on the table under each item so people know what they are eating. When I host a seated dinner, I use it as a tablecloth and let guests doodle around their meal.
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