A Very Parker Holiday: Claire Chan

To kick off the holiday season, we talked to experts across different industries for their top tips on celebrating the holidays with ease. This week we chatted with Claire Chan, restaurateur and owner of The Elk and Bar Beau, about how to prepare a menu for a diverse crowd, plus her favorite holiday drink.

Wearing the Hezzy Dress

When it comes to entertaining, do you have any tips on guaranteeing all guests are happy with their meals?

Serving guests family style or potluck style is always a great way to go.  When we host large parties at our restaurant, this is how we do it because it is more interactive and ensures every guest a variety of options and portions. At home, I love doing a potluck so everyone feels like they contributed and we can taste everyone’s style of cooking!

Both food and holidays bring people together, what’s the most rewarding thing about the season?

When I look around and see everyone in the holiday spirit and enjoying each other’s company, it feels rewarding to know we created the space for that to happen.

Wearing the Emma Dress

Do you have a go-to holiday cocktail to mix up?

During the holidays, I like to make mulled wine. The spices fill my home with a super cozy aroma and the warmth is perfect when the weather gets colder — it really sets the holiday mood. When I go out, I’ll order a classic martini. It feels so old New York and there’s an elegance about it that I just love!

How does the creativity you use when cooking translate into your style choices?

I always strive for approachability and simplicity when cooking and hosting — making sure that there are a variety of options, but not overcomplicating it so I am not running around like a crazy person the whole evening. I think this is the same way I treat my style choices. I like clothing that fits me well but is not complicated or fussy.

My favorite meal to cook as the hostess…

I will often do linguine vongole (linguine with clams and white wine sauce) when I hostess. It’s a crowd-pleaser and super simple to make.

My favorite appetizer to bring to the hostess…

A beautiful charcuterie and crudité board. If I have time, I’ll swing by the farmers market to get the freshest selection of local vegetables and meats for it.

My favorite wine and cheese pairing...

I love a soft cheese, like a goat brie, paired with a full-bodied red wine, like a tempranillo, during the holiday season. To me, it is a perfectly indulgent duo.

Shop the holiday collection.

Photography Credit: Phoebe Cheong

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TAGS: holiday season , holiday guide , holiday tips , hosting , food