Join us for an intimate chat with Steve Cordony as he unveils the secrets behind his relaxed yet elevated approach to hosting New Year's celebrations. He shares how he entertains at this time of year, seamlessly pairing Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc to create unforgettable moments and lasting memories.
What is your favourite thing about hosting?
My absolute favourite thing about hosting, apart from enjoying time with invited guests is creating the theme and look of the event, no matter how casual the event is. I love thinking about small details, colour schemes, the styling, the music, menu and every aspect of creating a memorable moment with friends and family.
What do you enjoy most about this time of year?
The relaxed energy that is in the air. Most people are on holiday break, and the weather in Sydney is warm. It's just a fun time of the year where everyone is present and enjoying the simple things in life; good food, wine, and company.
When do you start thinking about planning your Christmas entertaining and what is your thought process? Where do you get your inspiration from?
My birthday is actually on New Year's Eve, so I usually plan a trip away or I host an event, so I generally start planning two months out. This year, I'm hosting 50 people on NYE for my birthday and I started planning 6 months ago! I always start with one simple concept which I carry through to the theme, food and beverages, music and invites. In this case, it started with an historic French still life painting. I’m always looking through books. scrolling, perusing fabric houses and travelling so I always use the ideas or visuals that catch my eye and start building a moodboard from there.
Who would you have at your dinner party, dead or alive, if you could choose anyone to join?
I love this question - Ok, Beyonce (so she can perform), Oprah, Anna Wintour, Maya Angelou, David Beckham, Taylor Swift, Coco Chanel, Michelle Obama, and of course Mike.
What is one component you would never forget when planning a Christmas lunch or dinner?
A great playlist. Music always sets the tone for any event and creates the best background for amazing conversation and good times!
What do you consider to be your favourite ingredients to work with when serving food at Christmas time?
I always, always love to use seasonal, fresh produce. Nothing beats it! I love creating dishes that hero the freshest produce. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper and there’s nothing better. It's quite Mediterranean style but for me, that works best for this time of year.
What is your favourite dish to serve with Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir and why?
I always love a whole baked fish and scotch fillet with accompaniments. Plus lots of fresh salads and sides. Always sides. Actually, I love to serve something very similar to the menu for New Year's Eve this year, such as the below:
- Bread & House Churned Butter
- Grilled Zucchini. Garden Peas. Lemon & Garlic Labna
- Rosedale Kitchen Garden Tomato Salad. Burrata. Foraged Herb Pesto
- Heirloom Carrot Spelt Tart. Rosedale Honey. Hazelnuts. Ricotta
- Scotch Fillet. Chimmi Churri
- Paris Mash
- Green Leaf Garden Salad
- Grilled Salmon
- Citrus & Fennel Salad
What is your back up plan if the oven breaks? Is there a dish you can whip up or pivot to create with minimal effort that you know guests will still love?
Oh yes absolutely. You always need a backup, and my go-to is always a grazing table which is fairly simple to create in a short amount of time.
Start with protein, hot smoked salmon pieces straight from the grocer, (add wasabi mayo or similar) a mix of cured meats, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables en masse, copious amounts of bread and butter and accompaniments. Set this up on a clothed table with flowers or greenery and group everything together so it feels lush and overflowing. It's all about the plating up, so pull out vintage silverware, white stoneware platters and timber boards, and create different heights by turning solid bowls over and to create steps.
Guests will be none the wiser!