How To Throw A Cozy Winter Brunch Instead Of Leaving Your Nice, Warm Home
Stay indoors and follow these expert tips from a NYC chef-and-interior design duo.
Going outside in the winter is really hard. What shoes to wear? How cold is it? What if your space heater misses you?
Instead of braving the elements, circumvent these issues by throwing a winter brunch and making everyone come to you.
Here are interior designer Becky Shea and chef and former Homepolish editor Matt Powell’s top tricks and tips to recreate the lavish winter spread they put on at a SoHo loft earlier this season.
1 Pay Attention To Seasonal Harvest
Powell and Shea always make sure to cook in harvest, as it enables you to buy readily available ingredients in their freshest state.
It also helps you to cater the menu to the mood, and embrace winter with hearty foods and spiced cocktails.
“Winter calls for root vegetables and ingredients like allspice, cloves and cinnamon that warm us from the inside out and help lull us into hibernation,” Shea says.
2 Embrace Your Dark Side
It isn’t sunny outside, which means a theme of pastels, Gerber daisies, and rainbows isn’t going to work.
Take a page out of Shea’s dream journal, and go for something bold and cosmic, dark and moody. And really commit to it — from food to flatware.
“By keeping all the elements in the same tone, we were able to create cohesion with the tableware, flowers, interior space, and food,” Shea says.
For flowers, Shea chose Garden Roses, Eucalyptus, Ronia Black berries on twigs. The black-rimmed Soie Tressée plates are from L’objet ($50-$130, L’objet), paired with navy plaid napkins from Crate & Barrel ($4.87, Crate & Barrel). The dining table is a custom-order American Walnut live edge table with steel integration from Becky Shea Design.
3 Prep With Friends Ahead Of Time
Who said you have to do all the work? “Prepping with friends and loved ones ahead of the actual RSVP time makes the experience so much more fun and cuts the time in half,” Shea says.
Inviting your right-hands over turns party prep into an actual party, but do also make sure to plan the menu a week or two in advance, in case you have to change plans when your grocer runs out of nutmeg.
To still get that “wow moment,” your tabletop should be set, appetizers ready, and main courses roasting as other guests arrive.
To help you recreate this spread, Shea says the Hasselback Butternut Squash can be roasted up to 4 hours in advance, wrapped in tin foil, and then reheated right before serving.
4 Hit The Five Senses
Shea and Powell called the pears their “hero dessert,” as the fruits had quite the role to fill.
“We strive to hit all five senses in our experiential designs for tablescapes,” Shea said. “[T]hese pears played the perfect part of stimulating your smell, sight, touch (texture), and most importantly, taste senses.”
The pair topped off the brunch with some classic Frank Sinatra tunes to fit in with the warm, NYC-centric vibes.
5 Remember Everybody Loves a Goody Bag
“We love to surprise guests with a little take-away gift as a thank you for spending time with us and as a token of our relationship,” says Shea.
For this brunch, Powell and Shea baked rosemary shortbread wreaths the night before and wrapped them in canvas bags with ribbon to give guests “something to enjoy later in the night when they return home or the next day as a reminder of the fun event.”