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November, 2012:

My Beverly Hills Kitchen – Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist by Alex Hitz


I read a superb New York Times article by Guy Trebay recently with the heading, Guess Who Isn’t Coming to Dinner. In it, Trebay laments (along with Alex Hitz and others), the death of the dinner party and the passing of those who made such an art of them.

Certainly a lot has changed over these past decades, and much of those changes were a detriment to actual face-to-face conversation, let alone sit-down meals with friends. Aside from the usual culprits (i.e., fast food, home entertainment centers, facebook, etc.), I’m guessing that a lot of people these days are simply a bit intimidated by the idea of hosting dinner parties. Fear not, Alex Hitz’s fantastic book My Beverly Hills Kitchen, Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist to the rescue! Go out and get it, and then, if you’re still feeling a bit shaky about the whole thing, take Hitz’s advice and assurance; “…serve chicken potpie and a salad, make sure there’s plenty of wine and keep the lights low. How can it go wrong?”

Chef Hitz, (and we’re keeping our scope narrow here–Hitz has achieved honors in quite a few careers!), grew up in a cosmopolitan home in Atlanta, and his Southern cuisine is a celebration of those classic home cooked and, in some cases, nearly lost Southern recipes, infusing them with a French (think Julia Childs) sensibility. These step by step recipes have been tried and tested dozens of times, Hitz emphasizes, and many over a lifetime, so you can be sure that they are easy enough for anyone to make and good enough to please the palette of even the most sophisticated foodie. We particularly like the chapter, Kitchen Notes, which includes some truly sage advice on getting one’s kitchen in order to make cooking a much more pleasurable process.

As for us, we’re looking forward to hosting our own WIJW Christmas Eve dinner—that is, with help from Chef Hitz. It promises to be a smashing success! Here’s what we’ll be serving:


Our menu was created from the great many recipes you’ll find in Hitz’s book. We’re sure you’ll find a few recipes to suit your own holiday creations! Hitz as thoughtfully provided WIJW with a few images (below) to give us some idea of the delights that await.

Beef tenderloin. Chef Hitz - From a luncheon honoring Dennis Hopper.

Perfect Roast Tenderloin of Beef tenderloin. Chef Hitz - From a luncheon honoring Dennis Hopper.

Gratin Dauphinois aka "Potatoes Patio"  a legendary dish from Alex Hitz's Atlanta restaurant, The Patio by the River

Gratin Dauphinois aka "Potatoes Patio" - a legendary dish from Chef Hitz's Atlanta restaurant, The Patio by the River

Chef Hitz - Perfect Asaparagus

Chef Hitz - Perfect Asaparagus

Chef Hitz - Coconut Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Chef Hitz - Coconut Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Collectively this season, I hope all of our WIJW readers will join us in our efforts to revive the grand old tradition of the dinner party, regaining that “…sense of fun and community” Hitz speaks of, “…gathering people together for good simple food.” (Hitz, New York Times)

Holiday Wishes from the Windsors

James Andrew and the Windsors

James Andrew and the Windsors

The Holiday Season is now upon us and with it brings a good helping of craziness. As an antidote, I’m hoping to share some thoughts and ideas over the next few weeks that’ll elicit a few smiles. As you can see, I’m already at it: a photo of yours truly flanked by my favorite style icons in a fantasy image created by our very own Scott Houston McBee!

Although perhaps I don’t have the resources of a Windsor, I do have some pretty fantastic clients. I have done relatively well in fact, and beyond some good old fashioned elbow grease, I credit much of my success to a wild and vivid imagination…and why not? After all, we are very much what we think and feel. Combine good thoughts and feelings with some positive action, and you’re well on your way to living the life you want to.

Generally when faced with stress and strife, I prefer to believe that everything will work out. It’s a way to start to write one’s own story, rather than scrambling to react, and if you’re a believer in the law of attraction like I am, it’s the surest way to attract what one wants most. At the very least, imagining a positive resolution to things puts one in a better frame of mind to cope. It’s a win win scenario! Now, it is tempting to try to understand the mechanism by which like attracts like in our lives (and I might add, the self-help section of your local bookstore is rife with speculation on this), but suffice it to say, we don’t really need to know how it works. All we need to know is that it does work!

This holiday, give yourself permission to have outrageous dreams and fantasies. I’ve been busy imagining having my own little Bois de Boulogne, what will you imagine?

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly
– Rumi

French Accents Rugs and Tapestries

James Andrew at Home - Flemish Tapestry from French Accents

James Andrew at home - Flemish tapestry from French Accents

A personal interior makeover was a bit of an imperative this past week, as I was being photographed in my flat for an upcoming story. As you may know by now, I often seek inspiration from legendary style icons and taste makers, looking to their bold ideas to help in creating fine interiors for my clients as well as for myself. Marie Helen de Rothschild’s wonderfully decadent use of Flemish tapestry for carpeting and upholstery was always a look I found rather intriguing. Carlos de Beistegui used Flemish tapestry as well (in his case, as wall upholstery)—mixed with white painted French furniture and blue and white porcelain, the effect is more than marvelous! These possibilities have been on my mind for some time, and provided the perfect (and opportune) solution for me, especially where my aging and fairly dreary sisal rug was concerned. With the shoot pending, I hurried over to my favorite go-to resource for rugs and tapestries in the city: French Accents Rugs and Tapestries. Needless to say, they have truly superb reproductions, and my selection there provided the quick pop I’d been envisioning for my place. I have to say I’m quite thrilled with the results!

Marie Helen de Rothschild interior (left). Louis XIII Gallerie at Chateau de Groussay (right)

Marie Helen de Rothschild interior (left). Louis XIII Gallerie at Chateau de Groussay (right)

We thought to present you with a bit of a tease here, and of course we’ll be bringing you more photos from the aforementioned upcoming story on yours truly! We look forward to sharing more from French Accents as well—and trust you’ll look to them when elevating your own space.

At top right—my Tom Ford clad feet set against one of French Accents’ gorgeous Flemish tapestries.