Annie Falk dishes on her latest entertaining book and offers insight on hosting Hamptons events.
Annie Falk knows how to throw a party. Her 2012 tome Palm Beach Entertaining: Creating Occasions to Remember (Rizzoli, $45) shares her entertaining experiences as well as tips and recipes from Palm Beach’s top hosts. For her new book, Falk headed north. Hamptons Entertaining: Creating Occasions to Remember (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $45) will be released May 19 and will offer insight into entertaining the Hamptons way. In addition to a foreword by lauded chef Eric Ripert, Hamptons Entertaining puts readers on the guest lists to parties hosted by illustrious Hamptons residents, including Palm Beachers Kara Ross, Cynthia Sulzberger and Raysa Fanjul, to name a few. Beyond a love of entertaining, Falk wrote for a cause; author proceeds will benefit Peconic Baykeeper, a charity that works to protect and improve Long Island’s aquatic ecosystems. PBI spoke with Falk about the art of summer soirees.
How does entertaining in the Hamptons differ from Palm Beach?
Hamptons entertaining tends to be more casual than Palm Beach entertaining. In the Hamptons, we see more family-style service and buffets, and guests arrive in white jeans, tank tops paired with long skirts, crisp colorful shorts, beachy, tousled hair and sun-kissed cheeks.
For summer entertaining, an all-white dress code and cool cocktail à la Hamptons Entertaining is always apropos.
How can one create a Hamptons-inspired event in Palm Beach?
In the Hamptons, the menu is always inspired by the season and what is locally available, so begin by visiting one of Palm Beach’s fantastic green markets and allow your menu to be influenced by locally sourced produce. Sunflowers, blue hydrangeas and candlelit hurricane lamps are all mainstays of Hamptons entertaining; choose your favorite for a classic Hamptons centerpiece, or find inspiration from seashells.
At the Falks’ beachside soiree, sea-inspired decor honored the natural setting.
Coffee service at the Fanjuls’ yacht party
What’s your favorite entertaining tip from the book?
It’s one of my own: In the early summer, when friends are traveling and transitioning homes, email is the surest way to deliver invitations in a timely manner—and it reduces your carbon footprint.
How do you approach centerpieces?
Inspired by the mood of the gathering, I may begin with candles, flowers or objects found during travels. The menu prompts the palette of the tablescape, and I always envision the design as a complete tableau rather than one central piece. Every guest at the table should have something beautiful and inspiring to look at.
Meals at Hamptons events highlight local and seasonal ingredients served in a casual, often outdoor, setting.
Any tips for memorable Memorial Day menus?
I opt for a relaxed menu, serving what I call “plates of simplicity.” Asparagus and peppers are both in season, and I love to serve steamed, crunchy asparagus covered in marinated red and yellow peppers, followed by fresh, local fish over a bed of local greens drizzled with a balsamic reduction. End the meal with a dessert prepared a day or two in advance, served outside by the fire.
Photography by Jerry Rabinowitz