Daphne Oz Tells Good Housekeeping: “Always Be A Guest At Your Own Party”
The Chew’s Daphne Oz is featured in the October issue of Good Housekeeping. The Happy Cook author and mom-of-two invited the magazine into her home for a dinner party. Guests included Lauren Bush and Katie Lee.
Read excerpts from her interview:
On where she’s happiest in her home: “I love the way being in the kitchen makes me feel. Cooking, eating, entertaining — food was always love for me in that way. Eating your own food should always feel like a celebration.”
On her entertaining motto: “My entertaining motto is ‘Always be a guest at your own party.’ I really think that’s a huge deal. People take their cues from you — if you’re stressed out and worried about things going right, your guests are going to feel that and be anxious, too. Also, only make recipes you’ve made many times before so you’re guaranteed a success. For dinner parties, I love to serve family-style meals — I’ll make a big salad, some crusty bread and butter and then one main protein dish like a roast chicken or a whole fish, plus a bunch of veggie sides where I can go wild with the flavor pairings: beets and plums with tahini, carrots with capers and mint, spicy string beans, candied squash and yams.”
On her love of entertaining at home and barefoot cooking: “The thing I love most about entertaining is that I get to stay home. Anyone who knows me knows I like to be barefoot—I like to be comfortable—and I’ve got two little kids [daughter Philomena, 2; son John Jr., 1] so it also makes it easy for me, and I think that entertaining in your house gives people a way to see you in your element, to get a sense of how you like to eat in your own home, how you like to cook, how you like to relax.”
On her go-to-dish for a dinner party: “One of my go-to dishes for a dinner party is really one that has to feel impressive and substantial but also ideally not take a ton of time, and for me it’s a roast chicken. I feel like everybody should learn and master one awesome roast chicken recipe because it makes you feel like a badass in the kitchen.”
On her new cookbook The Happy Cook and creating meals that ‘feel like a million bucks’: “I’ve only ever written books based on personal experiences I’ve been having in my life. I used to be able to eat out a lot more than I do now, and with two little kids running around, I wanted to figure out, ‘How do I make cooking at home throughout the week feel like I’m eating out on the weekend?’ The Happy Cook was my collection of 125 recipes for eating every day like it’s the weekend. It’s all about that balance for me, so I haven’t outlawed all the sugar and the butter and the oil and the salt; I’ve left as much of that in my recipes as I needed to, to make them maximally satisfying because that, to me, was the whole point. If I’m going to spend time making this meal, I want it to feel like a million bucks, and I want it to be well worth it.”
On sharing her love of cooking — and eating with her kids and the importance of family dinners: “My mother and grandmother were my original ‘happy cooks’ — their tables were the ones I felt happiest gathered around, and my parenting has really been formed by that. My husband and I sit the kids down to dinner with the mentality of ‘This is what we’re all eating.’ I want to cook one meal for all of us and not feel like a short-order cook, so we show them by example what we want them to eat. Our kitchen is where the fun happens, where we all share the end of the day and where they start to feel like grown-ups.”
On her favorite part of her home: “The favorite part of my home is my kitchen counter. When we were designing the kitchen, it was the biggest thing for me to be able to find space for a kitchen island. I really encroached on our living space as a result. My mom’s one of six and she had me when she was twenty-two, so I was kind of like the seventh child in that huge crew, so I have these incredible memories of gathering all of these family members around my grandmother’s kitchen island and that would be where we’d put out big spreads of Italian food and everyone would just grab their plate and go sit at a table and it feels like such a communal space for me. I entertain here, I feed my kids here.”
On her husband, John, and his role in the kitchen: “My hubby does not cook, regrettably, but he’s an excellent cleaner-upper. So I get to get in the kitchen and do what I love, which is make a mess and have fun and just like, throw stuff together and experiment and see what works.”
On what she listens to while cooking: “When I’m cooking, my playlist is full of Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. When guests start to arrive, I typically like to keep things upbeat but mellow: Hot Chip, Chet Faker, Francoise Hardy, Bob Marley—I also love Spotify compilations like Ibiza Chill and Café del Mar. I call it ‘boat music’ because it’s relaxing but fun—that’s the vibe a dinner party should have.”
(Photo Credits: Mike Garten)
For more on Daphne’s interview visit Good Housekeeping.