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22 April 2024

The Dinner Series: At home with Kitty Callaghan

Introducing The Dinner Series, evenings where we step into the homes of the makers, artists, and cooks who inspire us. Together, we explore the touchstones for magical moments - thoughtful design, and beautiful food.

Kitty Callaghan is a maker at heart. A multidisciplinary artist, you can find her collage works at China Heights gallery in her home-town of Sydney, and her words and photography in one of our favourite fashion magazines, RUSSH. 

We asked Kitty what makes an evening with friends memorable. Her approach to the food, the styling, the perfect playlist. Encouraging her to make a mess in the kitchen, Kitty selected some of our favourite aprons for cooking at home and touches for the table. Read on for Kitty’s musings and for her beautiful photography of the night. 

What did you cook on the night? Any tips for deciding on dinner party recipes? 

We had some comte, Brillat-Savarin cheese & green Sicilian olives to begin. Then Risotto Milanese topped with Osso Buco for main - with a radicchio, pecorino and pear salad. For dessert I baked a coconut cake with finger lime dressing. The recipes for each were sort of a hybrid from several different books I like to follow, but mde my own - with the help of my partner who is an incredible cook. I would suggest looking up multiple recipes when you are inspired by a dish and take from each the parts that work best in your kitchen, or the time you have.

I have always been a big believer that cooking is about feeling, I am not good at too much rigidity in this sense, it needs to feel fluid and that there is love in a dish. For Italian cooking, some books I referenced for this meal were: Made in Italy by Giorgio Locatelli, The Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking by La Cucina Italiana and Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.

And what were you pouring?

I served a Rose (varietal - Cabernet Sauvignon/ Shiraz, Shay Flat) by Joshua Cooper Wines in collaboration with Fratelli Paradiso, which I designed the label for. We also had a light red to finish with dessert.

Playlist / album you played?

On this rare occasion, as I was busy cooking, I let Spotify create a radio station for me based on a playlist from The Row's spotify account (they make great monthly playlists..!) or I listen to my playlist of personal favourites.

How did you style the dinner party?

I am still settling into my new home so I had to go shopping for a few new pieces for my dinner party. I like to splurge on some special pieces like a beautiful candle from Diptyque and incense from Astier de Villatte, and glassware or vases I love to buy second hand. This is for many reasons, the best being that it is much cheaper, and the quality you can find in second hand and charity shops always trumps new pieces that usually cost the same price, and are likely produced in unsustainable ways.

I picked a bunch of different flowers in whites and soft yellows from Harris Farm and mixed them together in a couple of vases. I was also lucky that one of my closest friends who joined us for dinner, Christelle Scifo, is an incredible florist and brought some very special posies to place on the table too.

What pieces make a dinner memorable?

I will usually visit my Mum before having guests over to collect or borrow a family heirloom to include on the table - for example my Grandmother Mimi's lace tablecloth. I think a memorable dinner party is about creating a perfect balance of food and wine - you don't want too little (or, too much) of either - it's about making an environment that is a setting for great conversation and making memories, where everyone feels at home.

If you're not eating at home, where do you like to go out to eat & drink in Sydney?

My favourites are 10 William St and Fratelli Paradiso for Italian. I also went to Clam Bar recently for lunch and that was so much fun. I love to have a margarita at The Beaver after a swim in Bondi too.

Get the look: Kitty wore our Ryan apron in Tobacco Brown while her guests donned personalised Hazel aprons with their names. The table decor included both new and vintage tableware, a lace tablecloth and embroidered monogrammed linen napkins