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Entrepreneur. Mom of three. Fashion designer. Blogger. These are just a few of the phrases that describe Jenni Kayne, whose eponymous fashion label has had a cult-following among some of Hollywood’s chicest starlets as well as other members of the bi-coastal creative class since she launched the label in 2003 at the mere age of 19. Sixteen years later, the Los Angeles-born designer has organically grown her business to include clothing, shoes, accessories and a home line, as well as six free-standing stores and the popular lifestyle site Rip & Tan — and a Hollywood following that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and Kristen Bell. Now she has just released her first book, Pacific Natural, Simple Seasonal Entertaining (Rizzoli, $45).
“My brand started as a fashion line; then evolved into an all-encompassing lifestyle brand, including home decor, furniture, a baby line, and even a forthcoming pet accessory line,” says the designer. “Doing a book now seemed like the perfect time to distill the core of what our brand is and who I am, and it all comes down to what I love the most. My creativity is rooted in making moments special and focusing on the details, so it was a natural evolution to make a book full of all my favorite moments and memories with family and friends.”
To celebrate the launch of the book, which officially comes out Tuesday, Kayne will be hosting bi-coastal dinner parties. Courteney Cox opened the doors of her Malibu abode last Saturday and welcomed a crew of Kayne fans including Laura Dern, who enjoyed recipes from the book such as Parchment Wrapped Halibut with Lavender and Lemon.
In New York this week, Kayne is teaming with DIY dinner-party master Martha Stewart, who wrote the foreword to the book, for an event at Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel. The domestic duo will bring the book to life with a West Coast-inspired soiree at the Tribeca hotspot featuring florals from Fox Fodder Farm, natural table linens and wooden tableware representative of the book’s aesthetic. Guests such as Lauren Bush and Alexi Ashe (Seth Meyers’ wife) will be on hand to sample the California-style cuisine and cocktails, including Golden Roasted Beets with Charred Scallion Pesto and Orrechiette with Broccoli Rabe and Blistered Peppers.
For those looking to recreate her effortless entertaining at home, the book is divided into seasons, each taking a cue from one of Jenni’s favorite California locations and sources of inspiration — Ojai, Lake Tahoe, Santa Ynez and Los Angeles. In addition to menus for a “Simple Summer Brunch” with homemade granola and a “Chocolate Fondue Party” (with vegan chocolate fondue, of course), the photo-driven tome features other key elements for the perfect party, from floral arranging to the ideal supply closet, and ideas for parting gifts (garden sea salt and a honey face mask). Pacific Natural is sure to inspire even the most domestically challenged to store dry goods in glass Weck jars and tie linen napkins with a simple strand of jute twine.
While the book doesn’t suggest how to craft the ideal guest list, the designer confirms that selecting who gathers around the table is almost as important as a signature cocktail like the Rosemary Paloma: “It’s a pretty open-door policy at my house, but a good guest list is really just a group of people who are ready to put their phones away, enjoy one another and maybe come help cook in the kitchen!”
Here is the Halibut recipe from last week’s Malibu dinner:
Parchment Wrapped Halibut with Lavender and Lemon
6 hoja santa leaves or parchment pouches
6 (6-ounce) pieces halibut, skinned & deboned
Salt & black pepper
12 pieces butcher’s twine, each cut 10″ long
12 lemon rounds, cut ¼” thick
12 sprigs lavender, for garnish
2 lemons, cut into wedges, for garnish
To blanch the hoja santa leaves: Fill a pot with water, add ¼ cup of salt and bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Use a sharp knife to remove the thick part of the stem at the base of each leaf, making sure to leave the remainder of the spine of the leaf intact.
Using a slotted spoon, add one leaf at a time to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds until the leaf is pliable. Immediately remove from the boiling water and submerge in ice water. Repeat until all leaves are blanched and iced. Transfer the leaves to a sheet tray lined with a towel and lay flat. Use another towel to blot the leaves. Repeat this step until leaves are dry.
To wrap the halibut: On a clean cutting board, season all sides of the fish with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of chili flakes and drizzle with olive oil. Lay a piece of halibut in the center of each leaf. Starting with the top and bottom of each leaf, neatly fold the edges of the leaves over the fish. Follow with the sides and wrap like a present.
On a clean work surface, lay out two lengths of string, approximately 1½ inches apart. Lay a wrapped piece of halibut across the strings, seam side up, so that the seam of the leaf is perpendicular to the strings. Top with a round of lemon and a sprig of lavender. Wrap twine and tie, taking care to secure the lemon round and lavender. Trim off any loose ends of twine. Repeat with the remaining halibut.
To cook: Heat oven to 400° F. Lay the wrapped halibut on a sheet tray lined with parchment and bake for 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
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