In the Kitchen: Partying with French and Farrar
From summer soup parties to an intimate whiskey rib dinner, Los Angeles-based food bloggers Sierra French-Myerson and Stephanie Farrar of French and Farrar love to cook up something delicious and make the simple elegant for their guests. Naturals in the kitchen, these two friends have a knack for setting the mood for any occasion, but before the decorating begins, it all starts with the food.
“First and foremost, we think in terms of time of year,” French said. "We try our best to get the freshest and most seasonal produce and then build around that. Sometimes, one of us has a hankering to try something new and then the other will shape the rest of the meal to suit the dish.”
“Of course, we have to discuss cost and cost efficiency, since we’re not running a Michelin star kitchen over here,” Farrar said. “It’s usually been insanely easy to come to an agreement on what to make. The seasons somehow decide for us.”
Once the menu is decided, the party planning begins. For French and Farrar, it is important that every party they host feels like their own. Using all of their own products such as napkins and plates helps to keep a consistent and authentic aesthetic that remains true to the essence of French and Farrar.
“We both are natural entertainers and have a shared desire to make parties beautiful,” Farrar said. “But also, we can celebrate a good old fashioned BBQ on paper plates, drinking from solo cups. We really start with the theme of the party, see the end result, and work backwards.”
“I’m a major collector of random and unique kitchen tools and serving dishes that I can use at parties,” French said. “I love scouring the crazy estate sales that pop up all over L.A.”
French also notes how herself and Farrar enjoy playing with themes and elevating simple recipes such as “dude food” for football Sunday and an over the top Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar for a stunning baby shower.
To top it off, Farrar has been working closely with a top food and prop stylist for the last six months. The crash course into the understated craft of food and prop styling has been crucial for Farrar. When French and Farrar create their cookbook one day, Farrar would not have anyone other than her styling guro assist in styling the book.
However, more than the styling and food, French and Farrar agree that any good party is really all about the company. Farrar often finds herself so wrapped up in conversations when out that she forgets to eat, so small dinner parties with friends are her preference.
“I honestly don’t even care if the host is the worst cook or if he ordered Mozza pick-up,” Farrar said. “I just love being in a quiet, intimate environment with the people I love.”
“When someone is having fun in the kitchen, it translates to the guests,” French said. “Generally, it’s really about the company--good food is just a bonus.”
French believes that parties should be simple and not the place to stretch yourself in the kitchen to only end up stressed out.
“Friends around a table eating a simple pasta, drinking wine, and laughing wins the race always,” French said.
For French and Farrar, their favorite parties that they planned together were the same. The first was their New Year’s Eve party that they threw at Farrar’s in-law’s house in Malibu, California.
“It was fancy. It was perfect. It was delicious,” Farrar said. “But alas, we didn’t post any pictures of it. That party was so special, we wanted to keep it for ourselves.”
However, one party that is another favorite is one that they did take pictures of and is featured on their website--Summertime Whiskey Ribs.
“This was a quiet party for Sierra and me, my husband, Sam and our best friend, Ari. And it was gorgeous,” Farrar said. “The four of us have been dear friends for a long time, so it was no surprise when we polished off three racks of ribs in 20 minutes.”
“Aside from the beautiful food, what made it so special for me was the connection that I had with Steph in the kitchen and the friends that joined us to eat the meal,” French said. “Licking BBQ sauce off your fingers while laughing hysterically with your best friend equals an optimum party to me.”
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