Earlier this month on a warm fall evening, Olivia Muniak—the woman behind La Cura and La Cura Supper Club—did what she does best, gather a group of friends around the table for a chic dinner party in the backyard of her LA home. The Mascot wine flowed, as did good vibes and conversation. Read on as we journey through her Super Tuscan soirée and world of entertaining.
What sparked your love for entertaining?
Over the years I’ve thought about this question so much, being a chef and running a catering and event business, but what I love most is the time at the table with guests. There wasn’t one experience that rooted that love within me—it’s been a life spent in and around the hospitality industry. I grew up on banquettes at restaurants, worked in and around them for years—my family is in the business in New York City. It’s always been about this particular moment at the table—the sobremesa—the hour after dinner where the conversation is as good as the food, and the entire experience is absolutely made more memorable by a beautifully designed table.
What did your parents teach you about the art of hosting?
Watching my parents build a restaurant, how they considered every aspect of guest experience: food, drink, atmosphere, music and every detail of aesthetics provided me with a blueprint for true hospitality. My mother left such an imprint on me, whether it was a casual park lunch or a big holiday, she made every meal memorable with thoughtful touches in her presentation and décor. When one puts care into the details, these food and dining moments become an experience.
If your best friend saw one of your beautiful tables, how would they know it’s yours?
A knotted napkin, tall, towering taper candles and a mix of textures like delicate glassware with handmade ceramics. Always a balance of rough and refined.
What are your top 3 host tips and tricks?
Aperitivo hour is a favorite, it buys you time in the kitchen and is a wonderfully warm way to welcome guests into your home. Another good one is to set your mis-en-place before guests arrive. And finally, an empty dishwasher for quick, late-night clean-up.
How frequently do you host at home and what does a typical gathering look like at your place?
I host friends often, about once or twice a month. To me, it’s one of life’s pleasures to have a meal at home with friends around the table. I love a formal and elegant evening at home, but that doesn’t always mean hours in the kitchen. I typically do a plated, three-course meal with six friends… and yes, we love to dress for the occasion. Otherwise, when else?
Do you have a signature cocktail and dish you serve when hosting at home?
Yes! A White Negroni and Fallen Chocolate Espresso Cake—I love a bitter, barely sweet chocolate dessert after dinner, with a big dollop of whipped crème fraîche on top. The hint of espresso gives a tiny kick to keep the dinner party going. Plus, it’s a dessert that can be made the day before, which always makes things easier!
Olivia's Best Of
Party Song: People Everywhere, Khruangbin
Dress Code: Formal, always!
Icebreaker: Conversation cards with both cheeky and thoughtful questions under each guest's salad plate.
Best Party Ever: National Fried Chicken (and champagne!) Day with friends at the beach or backyard, we do it every year on July 6th.