Our new favorite supper series is taking place in photography studios, backyard gardens, cozy homes and beautiful restaurants around the world, all inspired by Karen Mordechai’s Sunday Suppers. As part of the Sobremesa global supper series, anyone can apply to host a dinner and Sunday Suppers provides a 101 of what you’ll need to pull it off. Named after that bit of time after a meal when the food is finished but conversation lingers, Sobremesa’s communal gatherings are scheduled throughout October from Brooklyn to Florence to Istanbul to Joshua Tree and beyond.
A recent Sobremesa supper, hosted by designer Anne Sage and photographer Elizabeth Messina, combined the duo’s many talents and gathered together some of the Los Angeles event industry’s top creatives. Read on for more info from Anne, including entertaining tips, styling tips and the inspiration behind this gorgeous, indulgent supper club gathering.
Photography by Elizabeth Messina
What is the Sunday Supper Series?
Sunday Suppers founder Karen Mordechai launched the Sobremesa global supper series this past summer as a way to celebrate the simple, sublime pleasure of cooking and sharing a meal together. Anyone can apply to host a dinner, and Sunday Suppers provides a menu, shopping list and entertaining suggestions to make hosting easy and fun. Supper guests contribute through the purchase of a ticket for the meal, and a portion of ticket proceeds support The Hunger Project—a global initiative that empowers rural villages to develop self-driven, sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty.
Who came to this lovely gathering?
One of our favorite things about this gathering was the magical mix of women who attended—it truly was an inspiring blend of talented, inspiring women (and girls!) of all ages. The dinner was organized and hosted by longtime friends Anne Sage, a lifestyle author, stylist and designer, and Elizabeth Messina, a photographer, artist, and author who is also the founder of a boutique and gallery called The Arte Department.
Our guests were:
Event designer Elizabeth McKellar, founder of the luxury event planning firm The Nouveau Romantics.
Interiors and lifestyle photographer Monica Wang.
Actress and cookbook author Sasha Pieterse, who had just returned from her honeymoon in Australia to be with us!
Mercedes Curran, founder of Designer Camp, a summer intensive that exposes tweens and teens to careers in the design industry.
Diana Perrin, the founder and owner of the world-renowned luxury tabletop company Casa de Perrin.
Alyssa Remmington, a vintage curator and owner of the boutique Folly Home.
Fine arts photographer and woodworker Kelle Ramsey, who crafts the most beautiful home goods under the label unlikely objects.
Elizabeth’s two daughters Mykela + Jasmine, who are also her indispensable assistants!
Where was it held?
We gathered at Elizabeth’s recently reopened studio along the coast near Santa Barbara. Elizabeth designed and built the space herself after a fire destroyed her previous studio. Her idea for the new studio was to craft a space in which every detail is utterly photo-worthy, a place that is a physical manifestation of how she sees the world. She has essentially created a little slice of the French countryside in Southern California! This studio is where she works and creates her art, but also where her family lives and plays—and also where she invites friends for gatherings such as these!
Often times hosting a gathering can be stressful. What are 3 entertaining tips so that both you and guests enjoy gathering together?
1. Instead of shouldering all the responsibility yourself, co-host with a friend to lighten the load! Elizabeth and Anne split the planning between the two of them to ensure neither felt overloaded—and to guarantee that no details were missed!
2. Lean on the unique skills and resources of your guests! While Anne cooked and Elizabeth shot photos, they put Elizabeth to work creating floral arrangements and borrowed tabletop items from Diana! Maybe you have a friend who’s loves to bake, or who has a killer table linens collection. Don’t be shy about calling them into service!
3. Set a menu that excites and inspires you, but don’t stress out if you have to adjust it later to suit your needs. In our case, Sunday Suppers provided the menu, but we tweaked it according to our tastes, how much time we had, and what was available in our local shops. No one left the party because we used store-bought tortillas instead of making them ourselves!
Why does gathering around a table create such an inspiring environment for sharing stories and connecting with one another?
These days, life seems to be moving so quickly! We’re all constantly on our phones, refreshing our inboxes and social media feeds for what’s new, a slave to our calendars as we rush to the next thing. It’s an all-too rare experience to sit down, get present, and enjoy the company of loved ones with no distractions and no time constraints. But if you’re able to bring people together, there’s real magic and satisfaction in creating a memorable experience for your loved ones. Hosting a gathering is also such a wonderful opportunity to craft a guest list of people who may not know each other yet, but who you know will become fast friends as soon as they sit at your table.
Recipes. Why did you choose to serve these dishes?
One of the brilliant aspects of Sunday Suppers’ Sobremesa dinner series is that it provides hosts with everything they need to execute their gathering—including a menu, shopping list, recipes, and even a timeline for completing everything without stress! In this instance, the recipes were all inspired by the flavors of Mexico, with refined and creative twists like using curry-roasted cauliflower as filling in the tacos, or preparing a delectably indulgent chocolate mousse using avocado instead of cream.
What inspired the decor at this gathering? What are some core styling tips?
1. Use your surroundings to inform your decor. One of our main sources of inspiration for the look of our event was the space in which we were hosting it! Elizabeth’s studio is a richly layered palette of soft, matte tones and timeworn textures, which we echoed when selecting our various decor elements. We used napkins and a table runner by Rough Linen, woven in hues of blush and earth, and from Casa de Perrin’s stunning tabletop rentals collection we combined stoneware ceramics with brushed gold flatware.
2. Good news for your budget: Incorporate floral arrangements sparingly! A couple small arrangements tucked amongst the other elements on your table will more than suffice. After all, you don’t want the table to feel crowded, or for tall bouquets to block your guests’ view of each other! If you would like to include a larger flower arrangement, place near your dining table, like on a console or sideboard.
3. Mix in vintage and handmade extras for a special blend of old and new. We were lucky to raid The Arte Department’s collection of antique tabletop items such as candlesticks and vases, and our guest Kelly brought some beautiful handcarved spoons from her company unlikely objects. By using one-of-a-kind pieces, we were able to create a truly unique experience for our guests!
4. Incorporate ingredients from your menu into your table decor! The dishes we prepared all used exotic salts and spices from ILA that were too pretty to leave in the kitchen, so we poured them in salt cellars and positioned them along the table with petite gold spoons for sprinkling!
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Hosts: Anne Sage + Elizabeth Messina with Sunday Suppers | Photography: Elizabeth Messina | Venue: The Arte Department | Table Runner: Rough Linen | Tabletop Rentals: Casa de Perrin + The Arte Department | Wood Spoons: Unlikely Objects | Spices: ILA