Monday, August 05, 2013

Star and Nicky Haslam

In his 2009 memoir, Redeeming Features, designer Nicky Haslam devoted an entire chapter to his time spent in Arizona, where he lived on Black Canyon Ranch with his former partner, Jimmy Davison.  A gifted writer, Haslam wrote at length about the ranch, detailing the ranch's decor as well as its staff, which included a Hopi Indian cook by the name of Star.  Haslam recounted that when Star arrived at the ranch, he knew little about fine food.  But, after a little instruction by Haslam, Star went on to become "a genius in the kitchen within a fortnight", according to Haslam.

Funny enough, I found an August, 1971 article in House & Garden that had been photographed and produced by Haslam.  Titled "An American Summer Cook Book", the article featured Star Duwyenie and his son, Tarquin, picking fresh watercress and foraging for fresh herbs and vegetables.  According to the story, Star found his culinary inspiration from cook books, especially those by Elizabeth David and Lady Sysonby. I assume that Star was introduced to Lady Sysonby's 1948 cookery book by Haslam.

The article's summer menu suggestions, compiled by Haslam, were rather extensive and included such classic yet elegant dishes as Lobster in Melon, Cold Duck Salad, Quail with Oranges, Mrs. Beeton's Roast Chicken, Prune Souffle, and Iced Cheese.  Also included is Jimmy's Pasta Dish, a macaroni and cheese recipe that had to have been named after Davison. I include the recipe below, just in case you want a taste of what Haslam's life was like on a stylish Arizona ranch.

Jimmy's Pasta Dish

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
8 oz. package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
4 oz jar pimientos
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked

Melt butter in top of double boiler and slowly add flour, stirring constantly. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Add cream, milk, and the cream cheese and stir until smooth. Add 1 cup of the grated Cheddar and the pimientos. Check seasoning and stir in a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Combine sauce with macaroni, cover with remaining Cheddar, sprinkle with paprika, and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Serves 6.

Star picking fresh herbs.

Shrimp and Eggs

Grilled Bass garnished with lemon and dill

Star's Heart of Cream, which is a Coeur à la Creme with Strawberry Sauce

Chocolate Mousse with a sign of the times dusted on top.


  1. love this post.. the perfect photos ... thanks for this

  2. Dearest Peak With Her Eagle Eye--talk about connecting the dots!

  3. I think that the macaroni and cheese recipe is the richest I have ever dreamed of..amazing. Nicky Haslam endures and retains his place at the top of creative design icons. Thank you for this fantastic post.

  4. Yum,

    His pasta recipe gives the term "comfort food" a whole new meaning! Thanks for the post!