At Home with Vita is a monthly interview with artists, designers, and friends who inspire us. Our latest Q&A is with David Stark, founder of David Stark Design. DSD is a full service event design, planning and production company founded in 2006 in New York City.
IL BUCO VITA: Did you find yourself “hosting” for yourself or for your family during the quarantine?
DAVID STARK: One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that I have never cooked so much in my life, and I have been truly, truly enjoying it. I have absolutely been making meals for my husband and I nightly -- some have been for special occasions (birthdays and holidays), of course, but I’ve gone the extra mile on others simply because I wanted to try out a new recipe or just break the monotony of our routine.
IBV: Has cooking more meals in your home caused you to rethink the design of your kitchen or your home in general?
DS: Yes! We have Thonet chairs in our kitchen which I truly love, but the cane seats keep snapping because of the extreme use they are getting during the pandemic. They are now our dining and office chairs until the world gets back to normal. As an innovation and after getting them re-caned (yet again), we have made cushions to protect those pesky, way too delicate seats.
IBV: Did you use the extra time at home to learn how to make something new in the kitchen?
DS: All summer long, I worked on perfecting all sorts of variations on a Fish Stew. I love a one-dish meal!
IBV: What are your go-to “pantry recipes” for last-minute meals?
DS: My husband, Migguel Anggelo is Venezuelan, and he makes the best arepas on the planet. We always have corn meal in the pantry (Arepa Pan), and I enjoy a break from cooking to savor his family recipe made with love. He pairs it with black beans and fresh avocado or a tuna salad he creates with tomatoes and cilantro. It’s simple food, which is always the best food.
IBV: What are your favorite purveyors or resources for local produce/provisions?
DS: Frankly, I never go to a chain supermarket. I’m very lucky to live in a part of Brooklyn that has a wonderful farmers market on Saturdays with a fishmonger that I religiously visit as well as a series of family owned, neighborhood shops that are specialists in their areas. They include:
- Sahadis – An inspiring Middle eastern market which has been in Brooklyn for over 65 years
- Caputo’s Fine Foods – An old-school Italian grocer & deli stocking an array of imported specialty foods & prepared fare.
- Bien Cuit - Truly special bakery
- Staubitz - One of the oldest, if not the oldest butcher in NYC
IBV: Where was the most memorable table setting you’ve ever seen?
DS: The ceramics floor at the V & A Museum in London is just about the most mind-blowing and inspiring tabletop experience in the world!
IBV: What is the first place you hope to visit when COVID-19 is far behind us?
DS: I am working on a new book called The Handmade Table with my dear friend, the designer Jane Schulak, and we are looooong overdue a trip to France to finish shooting our book in Paris and Normandy!
IBV: Are there any causes or institutions that you are passionate about supporting during this ongoing crisis?
DS: I will always have a special place in my heart for God’s Love We Deliver who delivers millions of healthy meals a year to people who are too ill to shop or cook for themselves -- and all free of charge. This is the work of angels.
IBV: Who has influenced your entertaining style?
DS: My dear friend and the designer I admire most, Jane Schulak
IBV: Go to last minute center piece?
DS: Potted herbs from the farmers market
IBV: Where do you find inspiration for entertaining?
DS: Travel and art
IBV: If you had a destination dinner party, where would it be?
DS: Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s
home in Marrakech.
IBV: What is your favorite meal to serve to guests?
DS: A Mediterranean Cod en Papillote
IBV: One word to describe your entertaining style?
DS: I strive for effortless
IBV: Seated dinner or casual buffet?
DS: Seated dinner
IBV: To decant or not decant?
DS: Not decant
IBV: Stemmed glasses or wine tumblers?
DS: Wine tumblers
IBV: Whose house would you be the most excited to be invited to for dinner?
IBV: Who has kept you inspired this year?
DS: My incredibly talented and hard-working team at David Stark Design & Production. For them, I am forever grateful.
Photos by Corrie Beth Hogg.