Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lyford Cay Design Weekend


A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending the Second Annual Design Weekend in Lyford Cay.  The weekend was manna from heaven for those of us who love design and beautiful homes.  There was a series of design-related lectures given by Nina Campbell and Hutton Wilkinson (both excellent,) not to mention a panel discussion that included Newell Turner, David Kleinberg, Mary McDonald, Miles Redd, and yours truly.  We also had the opportunity to tour some of the island's most charming homes.  Never before have I seen so much Quadrille fabric!  Of course, we all know that Tom Scheerer used a lot of Quadrille at the Lyford Cay Club, and the effect is really smashing.  But there are also many private homes which boast the fabric, including a few houses that were decorated by the seriously-talented local designer, Amanda Lindroth.  I loved Quadrille fabric before I converged on Lyford, but I must say that I love it even more now.

Another highlight of the weekend was Saturday evening's Elsie de Wolfe Dinner, which was organized by Alex Hitz in conjunction with Lyford Cay Club chef Pascal.  The dinner's menu was compiled from recipes by both Alex and Elsie de Wolfe.  The first course's Bloody Mary Aspic, which was delicious, was courtesy of Alex and is featured in his recent cook book, My Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist.  The entree of Chicken à la King, on the other hand, came straight from one of my favorite recipe books, Elsie de Wolfe's Recipes for Successful Entertaining.  (I'm assuming that Alex tweaked the recipe for his dinner in order to accommodate a large crowd and modern palates.)

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the dinner, but you can get a sense of the dinner's decor in the photo above, which features Chesie Breen and David Kleinberg.  Each table had a black and white centerpiece and black and white napkins, while a few even had black and white umbrellas, all of which was a fitting tribute to de Wolfe and her love of the graphic color combination.  And speaking of black and white, Hutton Wilkinson began his weekend lecture on Elsie de Wolfe by playing Bobby Short's rendition of Cole Porter's 1919 tune, That Black and White Baby of Mine, which begins, "Now since my sweetheart Sal met Miss Elsie de Wolfe, The leading decorator of the nation, It's left that gal with her mind simply full'f ideas on interior decoration...."

And in case you would like to try your hand at Chicken à la King, I have included de Wolfe's recipe below. Until a few weeks, I had forgotten all about this dish, but it really is one of those classic party dishes that deserves to be rediscovered by people.












Miles Redd and me as we prepared for our panel discussion.

13 comments:

  1. What a treat! Love Miles Redd - I heard him speak in New Orleans last year, and Nina Campbell! WOW! What a fabulous idea of having an Elsie de Wolfe dinner. Nothing like keeping the history of design alive! How wonderful to be a part of it!

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  2. A dish that was called Chicken a la King was a buffet staple of chic parties here in the 1960s. But it was a casserole with flat noodles rather than toast.
    From the published photos of the Lyford Cay Club, it looked like a great place to visit, especially in January.

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    1. John, The Chicken a la King that I have had in the past had flat noodles as well. Talk about an old school dish!

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  3. What a week-end! Hutton is a true gentleman in every sense of the word--and a great client. Thank you for sharing.
    Mary

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    1. I adore Hutton and Ruth! Hutton's talk on Elsie was terrific.

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  4. Sounds fabulous (the recipe AND the weekend!). And I have that same tie as Miles! haha

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    1. Stefan, Great tie! You have excellent taste!

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  5. Jennifer, what an exciting weekend. You look amazing in the coral dress. I love the brown and cream wallcovering at Lyford Cay and Tom Scheerer's design. It has been years since I've made Chicken a la King, I remember as a young bride making the dish for company!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  6. What a lineup of speakers + thank you for showing me this weekend. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  7. Alan Dailey11:55 PM

    I am so glad you were feeling better and able to attend

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  8. Anonymous11:19 PM

    Wow. Just wow.

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  9. I really need to track down that Elsie de Wolfe cookbook, I think it's rare- and expensive. "Chicken a la King". I love these old-fashioned, classic and simple dishes. Reminds me of "Haddock MonteCarlo". Hope you're feeling better.

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