A simple and elegant, Spanish-inspired dinner by Olivia Joffrey

How do i collect

Gathering people around a table is the greatest passion of our lives and we believe that food is one of the most powerful tools for connection. In our series, How I Gather, we go behind the scenes with our favorite eaters to answer this question. see all

Meeting Olivia Joffrey is like walking in the pure rays of light. She greets you with her wonderfully clear blue eyes and instant warmth. The feeling of entering his house is very similar, the light wrapping around him, the view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance, and some of the oldest houses and buildings in the city are lying around and below.

Olivia spends her days designing cafeterias and tunics for her name combinations, and her home resonates with the patterns, colors and textures that you often see in her pieces. Olivia has only been in the house for a year, but she has made it her own, full of original art, books, colorful textiles, and personal touches.

She lives here with her three young daughters, and her home is comfortable and cozy but clearly mature. The former owners renovated the back half of the house to create a shared kitchen and dining area, making it a perfect place for friends to have fun, while still having everything on the stove. Worth to take care of

Olivia’s work and life offer a beautiful sense of nostalgia for an easy time.

Impressed by her Santa Cruz upbringing and her mother’s early years as a foreigner in Spain, Olivia’s work and life evoke a beautiful sense of nostalgia for an easy time. Here, we were impressed by the evening he spent with friends and his mother’s dreamy Andalusian days, spent between artists, writers and the Spanish sun, and joined him for dinner. Read on to learn about Olivia’s approach to food, hospitality, and her version of the good life.

Olivia Joffrey on what builds a house.

Tell us about your home and how you came to Santa Barbara

My house is an old 1920s SoCal bungalow. I love it because the kitchen is literally half the living space. Home is my priority: cooking, talking, connecting, drinking, tasting, reading, playing music, and living a simple life.

Coming back to California was a return home for me on many levels.

My family moved to Santa Barbara in 2017. I live in Santa Cruz, the same kind of coastal city with university and surf culture. But Santa Barbara was more architecturally and culturally fascinating to me than ever. I was in my twenties: spent time in New York, London and San Francisco where I worked in architecture and urban planning. In the thirties, I got married and moved to the suburbs of Chicago. Despite the cool people and the creative scene (and more affordable real estate) I never felt at home there. Coming back to California was a return home for me on many levels.

What is your favorite part of your home?

I like where my house is, and the specific voices we keep secret. The bells of the old church tower ring twice a day; it’s heavenly! If you close your eyes you are in Santiago de Compostela. On summer evenings, my daughters and I fill the beach wagon with blankets and portable diners, and we head to the rose garden. We often drag our friends into the lounge with us and enjoy the colors of the sunset.

Olivia Joffrey, Brand

Can you share the story and inspiration behind your business?

I started my caftan line in 2015 when my daughter Clementine was born. I was disappointed that there was nothing in my closet that was elegant, but also comfortable. I longed for the beautiful caffeine that my mother wore to me in the 1970’s when I was a child. At that moment, my husband encouraged me to become his captain and hired me as a business coach.

I bought vintage caftan patterns from Etsy and eBay and hired a manufacturer in Los Angeles to make them for me. The whole line is a letter to my mother, Anne Marie, and her particular breed of California beauty and the years of her exile in Andalusia.

Food: A family affair

How did you learn to cook?

I learned to cook by watching my mother. She was a confident and sexual cook. In Santa Cruz, our kitchen was small and loose. But with that, she’ll make great food. My friends would sit around the table at our old Spanish library for dinner and they would prepare homemade artichokes with homemade mayonnaise, butter lettuce salad with vinaigrette, and salmon cooked in fish clamp would grill us. ۔ I was ashamed of her extravagance as a child, but my friends loved to eat at my house.

Food was as important to my mother as books and music were to her. We never had money, but we had bookshelves, a wall of records, and food that was simple but wonderful.

What tells you about food?

I’m looking for a sexual experience. When you fry onions, the house smells, the light of candles, the weight of a heavy cloth napkin on your lap, the small glass of wine as you assemble the various parts, and the theater itself. All these ingredients together make the meal theatrical, formal and meaningful.

What does a typical Saturday night meal look like to you?

When my kids are with me, I try to make dinner work together. Each of my three daughters plays different roles in food preparation and table setting choreography. My dining room is literally inside my kitchen – an arrangement that suits the way I like to live. It is comfortable and overlapping.

Do you have any books that you swear by?

I really enjoyed the book unforgettable About the life and recipes of the great Paula Woofert by Emily Thelen. From this book I learned how to make ajur (a kind of Moroccan ratatouille) – it is found in my monthly collection. Azure is great with sour or roast chicken.

Kitchen routines and tried and true tools

What kitchen utensils do you have?

My mother’s nice German knife, and her Danish enamel pot and pan. Knives are emotional, but also beautiful. I feel justified when I use his knife. Danish pans generate the most heat, and I like them as items. I also can’t live without a good garlic press.

What does a normal day look like to you?

I get up early, and usually wake up at 6 o’clock when the mission bell rings. My daughter Clementine and I hold hands and have a morning walk in the neighborhood. When we get home, there’s a crazy rush to wake up her sisters, get everyone dressed and ready for school and pack lunch.

Once the kids go to school, I zoom into my studio in downtown Santa Barbara, meditate a bit to focus my mind, and dive into whatever projects are pushing me this week. I am Some weeks take me to downtown Los Angeles (a two-hour drive) where my manufacturer is, and other weeks I write a lot for my copywriting clients.

In the evenings, I like to hang out with friends for dinner or go to my favorite local places. In the summer we get crab tacos in Cuernavaca and take them to the beach.

Do you have clothes to go

I have three uniforms that help me get ready effectively in the morning. I either wear a jumpsuit (I like the Alz Big Deal), a caftan from my line, or a corduroy bell bottoms and a fitted tee. I almost always wear espadrilles.

what do you have for breakfast?

I make coffee in a French press. Then, for my daughters and me, I cut a thick slice of levin from the Helena Avenue bakery we all toasted, down the butter side in a cast iron pan. Sometimes, my girls like tops with avocados and six-minute eggs, but this paradise is just crispy with butter.

What do you always keep in your fridge?

Decanters of avocados, cilantro, scallions, cornichons, gruyère, eggs, and cold glass of tap water.

What products do you like for the table?

How Olivia Joffrey entertains.

How would you describe a fun style?

Bare feet and wonderful, warm and unique. Correction

What does the ideal gathering look like to you?

Some of my favorite parties have been immovable dinners with creators of all ages. I style an unsteady table with candles and small random flower arrangements in matching pots. I like it when the music doesn’t go with the food: a cheese souffl اور and Dr. Drey, sushi and its music, Yorkshire pudding and bestie boys. I love it when someone plays the guitar and dinner turns to music.

What scares you about entertainment?

When I’m bothered with cooking, I’m afraid people won’t get wet for dinner. I’m not good at multitasking.

What makes you happiest when you spend time in the kitchen or around the table?

The magic of the moment: candles, colors, scents, faces. I like it when the meal is over and everyone sits down and leans on their chairs. A small community realizes that we had something in common.

Do you have any signature dishes for gatherings?

I’m like a salad queen. It all starts with the vegetables that attract me to the farmers’ market, then I take turns taking sliced ​​cheese and toasted nuts and my mother’s classic red wine vinaigrette recipe.

It’s like lettuce is a little black dress, cheese and nuts are jewelry and shoes, and salad dressing is the scent that binds them all together.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a recipe for Olivia’s signature Ensalada Valenciana.

Favorite question for anyone to know?

where did you grow up?

Go to Center Pace?

Eucalyptus from Median outside my house.

Who are the guests of your dream meal?

I can’t name anyone, but there’s a certain alchemy in mixing guests. I like a small meal for a maximum of 6-8 people. That way, you can actually connect. It’s always a bonus when different age groups are represented, an eccentric, a good-natured person, a comedian, and maybe someone you don’t know well yet.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to host on a budget?

Splurge on really beautiful vegetables in the farmers market. They add color when you serve them on the table and can be as delicious as meat and less expensive. I made wonderful food from eggplant and spices roasted in the oven. The atmosphere (candlelight, record player) and originality (what you offer) are more memorable than how much you like to make it. Comfort is always better than grand.

What is your principle of relaxation without stress?

Get stylish, cheap glassware so you don’t have to worry about glass breaking. I use Borosil glasses. They are cheap and modern. Also, if the party goes a little crazy, it’s not as painful as clearing the Waterford Crystal at 2am.

fill in the blank:

Must have a perfect meal; Feel like sharing body and soul.

IIt’s not without dinner party; Music

Every chef should know how; Sharpen your knives.

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