When the fashion designer Peter Som was growing up in his hometown of San Francisco, Thanksgiving dinners had a slight Chinese twist. Owing to their heritage, his grandmother who had always prepared the Thanksgiving spread would do away with traditional bread stuffing for the turkey. She would instead throw in something unexpected. “She would stuff the bird with traditional Chinese sticky rice mixed with pork sausage, dried shrimp and cilantro. It was a true cultural mix—in the tastiest way possible,” recalls Peter of his fondest Thanksgiving memories.
“A good dinner guest is engaging, curious, funny and if at my Thanksgiving table —has a good appetite.” – Peter Som
Peter is no stranger to throwing parties. His home, which is handsomely decorated in a tailored but no-fuss approach with mid-century pieces and a colorful array of paintings and photographs, has been the venue for countless parties — from easy cocktail soirees to elaborate dinners, which oftentimes Peter cooked himself.
A few years back, Peter hosted a large Thanksgiving party in his apartment with a guest count of 30 people. As any host or hostess knows, sometimes things don’t always happen as planned. From that experience he says he’s learned two things: “First plan ahead! Know exactly what has to happen when—it helps to jot it down on a piece of paper. Secondly, divide and conquer! Enlist friends who love to cook to bring sides or dessert, or a bottle of wine for the culinary-challenged.
This Thanksgiving, Peter will have classic holiday fare on his table. But for dessert, he’s serving Piecaken. “It’s a three-layer hybrid cake of all your holiday favorites—pumpkin, pecan and ginger cake. I made it last year but this year I’ll order one from my friend, Zac Young, the pastry chef who invented it so I’ll know how the pro does it.”
When setting the table for dinner, Peter, ever the fashion person, says he approaches it as he would putting together an ensemble. “I always start with a base of neutrals and then layer up with a pop of color or an accent. I do always use white plates as I think food looks best on a white background. At the end of the day I want it to feel effortless, festive and inviting.”
For the Thanksgiving table he’s set up for Kim Seybert, a clean wintry mix of whites and grays and metallic’s punctuated by pale mini pumpkins and petite floral arrangements, Peter used the embossed croco Everglade Placemat in Gray and the Jakarta Ikat Napkin in Gray with his own plates, Tiffany & Co. silverware and vintage glasses. “I love the textural mix of the croco and ikat. For me, the tones of gray offset by the white and then that touch of pale blue are a modern NYC take on Thanksgiving. Sometimes a play on rich textures and subtle patterns are all you need. Add candlelight, and you’re ready for company,” says Peter.
Peter Som has recently collaborated with The Inside on a capsule collection of occasional furniture and furnishings like chairs, ottomans and loveseats using his favorite prints from his fashion collections. The Inside is a web-based home décor store founded by design pioneer and author Christiane Lemieux with an aim to bring fashionable home pieces at accessible price points.