EyeSwoon

Champagne, cooking, and fashion. Seemingly separate but the mix completely makes sense to me and apparently I am not alone. Jason Wu shares my inability to pick a lane. On any given journey, we prefer to weave in and out of traffic.

I met Jason two summers ago at an event in the Hamptons. We sat beside one another and got to chatting about cooking, but we quickly changed lanes to clubbing the moment he saw who was sitting beside me. Turns out, Jason and I likely shared the dance floor on one of our many late nights out in N.Y.C., busting a move to Victor Calderone. Victor is my hubby and a D.J., and Jason is a fan. Victor played a little part in Jason’s early days in N.Y.C. You see, before Jason was a famous fashion designer – before he got nominated for a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award and before his clothing repeatedly graced former first lady Michelle Obama – before all of this, Jason spent a few of his early N.Y.C. nights dancing at the club.

Between Jason and my shared love of cooking and house music, it was clear soon after we met that a fast friendship was brewing. We vowed to get into the kitchen together one day, and that day finally came to pass a few weeks ago. On a Saturday afternoon Jason invited me to his home to cook together and to share with me his love of all things epicurean. His passion for food is so great, in fact, that his sub-label Grey Jason Wu is intended to encompass this aspect of his life. Grey speaks to a sophisticated, relaxed side of Jason’s personality, one that extends beyond fashion and into entertaining.

Each season Jason creates a Grey dinner that is fantastical and chic. These meals are a way to celebrate his collection but also to highlight a chef and gather with his nearest and dearest. Whether he is equipping guests with bonsai shears so they can trim their own sprouts for the meal or forgoing standard place cards in favor of fruits carved with guests’ names, no detail goes unnoticed in these delicious, highly-personalized experiences.

Some might find it peculiar that meals play such a starring role in each Grey collection but to yours truly, fellow lane-hijacker that I am, it only feels natural to cross-pollinate between food and fashion.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, upon entering Jason’s uber-sexy apartment (which was featured in AD!), I was reminded of yet another old dance floor buddy, Andre Mellone. Andre, a dear friend whom I’ve known since I was 19, designed Jason’s home. Good vibes from the moment I walked in. Feeling happy and excited, the first order of business was a mimosa. It was Saturday afternoon, after all!

Second order of business, Jason was to dress me in the Grey collection. With so many chic choices, what was a gal to wear? Well, no need to worry about that – Jason had already preselected a few options! The chambray short sleeve number seemed best suited for our cooking endeavors, so off we went to the kitchen. Jason moved about this space with confidence and instinct. No recipe-following for this intuitive cook. He handled his knives with precision and whipped up not one, not two, but three masterful spring dishes. There was a bright pea soup. A butter lettuce salad with the yummiest green goddess dressing, complete with a secret ingredient: sour cream. And finally there was the most succulent roasted chicken with carrots, potatoes and herbs. All was not only impeccably prepared – Jason sure does have an eye for beauty – but it was also delicious.

The day could not have been any better. With Harry Styles “Sign of the Times” on repeat (SWOON), we likely went through three bottles of champagne. We were like two giggly, fashion- and food-lovin’ friends, trading cooking tips and techniques. At 5 p.m. I turned into a pumpkin, wiggled my way out of my Grey dress, and with a full belly and an ever-so-slight misstep, hopped into a taxi so I could rush off to the jitney to meet my family. What a fun afternoon cooking and reminiscing about the good ol’ dancing days with friends anew, and crossing lanes left and right!

Jason Wu

Q&A

    • Tell me about the genesis of Jason Wu.
      My mother!  She was my first muse — always refined and elegant. Without my family’s support and my mother championing my creativity there would be no Jason Wu.

      What was the career and life progression that led to where you are today?
      A lot of hard work and determination and always adhering to my motto of “quality over quantity”.

      How would you briefly describe the ethos of the Grey Jason Wu collection? How does it differ from the Jason Wu collection?
      I wanted to create a brand that speaks to my own close friends’ lifestyles. Grey has a feminine and relaxed sophistication. It captures the more laid-back side of my personality and design aesthetic. I really think of Grey and Jason Wu as two sides of the same coin.

      Where do you seek inspiration?
      I love to read and buy architectural magazines and books as sources of inspiration, frequently. Something as little as an etching on a piece of furniture can turn into the theme behind an entire collection. Also, traveling is big influence on my design process.

      That “Aha!” proud moment in your career when you were recognized you had succeeded?
      When I first saw my collection in the Bergdorf Goodman Fifth Avenue windows. I totally geeked out. I went to the store at 10 p.m. and geekly took photos like a tourist.

      Are you a recipe follower or an intuitive cook?
      I’m an intuitive cook — I never measure. I like to go to the market see what inspires me.

      In three words, cooking makes you feel…
      Creative, proud and hungry.

      You love food and lifestyle; how does Grey Jason Wu connect to this world?
      Grey is my outlet to express my personal interests and experiences through the lens of my creations. It also gives me the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented chefs and artists.

      Tell me about the intimate dinners you create for Grey.
      Personally, I enjoy hosting small, intimate dinners with my closest friends. The Grey dinner series speaks to my passion for entertaining. Grey was designed with my friends in mind, so it only makes sense to curate a “dinner-with-friends” vibe.

      Five artists currently in rotation on your cooking playlist?
      I’m a sucker for a top 10…right now it’s Harry Styles on repeat. Is that embarrassing?

      How would you describe the food you cook and crave?
      I mostly crave anything savory. My biggest guilty pleasure is anything with rice or noodles, which is difficult ever since I developed a gluten allergy.

      That one dish in your repertoire you can make with your eyes closed?
      A beautiful, perfectly roasted chicken!

      Five items that are always in your fridge?
      Sparkling water, eggs, butter, cheese, and champagne.

      Snack from your childhood or college days you are mildly embarrassed you still love?
      Dried seaweed.

      What is your food Kryptonite – the one you can never say no to?
      Sour Patch Kids.

      All-time favorite restaurant in your city?
      Sant Ambroeus in the West Village.

      Describe the perfect Sunday meal…
      A “family dinner” at home with my closest friends.

      Go-to local spots? (Cafés? Restaurants? Shops? Parks?)  
      I have been frequenting Bessou, a new restaurant on Bleeker. It’s a really modern take on Japanese. Make sure to get the smoked soy eggs and sashimi rice platter. I also love my friend Camille Becerra’s new restaurant De Maria on Kenmare. I always get the halibut and chicories and seaweed salad. Spring Place, Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, Gagosian gallery and Caudalie’s new spa on Madison are some of my go-to spots in NYC. And of course my shop at Saks Fifth Avenue!

      Life mantra at the moment?
       Never say no to a day off!

      What makes you swoon more than any one thing?
      Ice cream — any kind.

One Pan Roast Chicken and Veggies

Jason Wu

  • Ingredients

    • Prep Time: 1 hour 
      Cook Time: 40 minutes 
      Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes 

       

      • 12 ounces fingerling potatoes, unpeeled 
      • 2 red onions, peeled and cut in halves 
      • 8 whole carrots, peeled 
      • ¼ cup good extra virgin olive oil
      • 2 whole garlic cloves, tops removed  
      • 3-4 whole sprigs of fresh rosemary
      • 3½ pounds bone-in, skin on chicken thighs and legs
      • salt and pepper to taste

       

       

  • The Prep

      1. Place potatoes, onions, carrots, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, 2 sprigs of chopped rosemary in 1-gallon zip top bag. Press out the air and seal; toss to coat.
      2. Place the chicken, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 sprig of chopped rosemary, salt and pepper in a separate 1-gallon zip top bag. Press out the air and seal; toss to coat.

      To Store:

      1. Refrigerate chicken and vegetable mixture zipper-lock bags for at least one hour or overnight, up to 24 hours, flipping the bag at least once or twice to ensure the chicken marinates evenly if you can.

      To Finish and Serve:

      1. Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spread vegetables in a single layer in baking pan and arrange potatoes and carrots along the outside. Season vegetables with more salt and pepper if desired.
      2. Place chicken skin side up on top of vegetables. Bake chicken until drumsticks and thighs register 175 degrees, for about 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.
      3. Transfer the chicken to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. If desired, return vegetables to oven and continue to bake until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Toss vegetables with any accumulated chicken juices and transfer to platter with chicken. Serve and enjoy.

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