Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Kensei way: Holiday entertaining in style

Nadine Kam photos
The holiday decorations are up at Kensei's home.

Christmas came early to guests of hairstylist, jewelry designer, stylist, and this particular evening, chef, Kensei.

The autumn-themed dinner, hosted by Kensei and Dale Young the day before Thanksgiving, was his way of saying thank you to Cathy Lee, Pam Campbell and Lesli Yano, who were involved with his recent "Art of Jewelry" fashion show.

For those shopping for holiday decorating ideas, this was the place to be. We were welcomed into his living room, already dressed in European Christmas garb, with a centerpiece of a tree filled with a handmade German glass ornaments. Even statues and cherubs were dressed with jewels for the occasion, and tabletop trees were dressed with brooches.

A while back, I had written about the intersection between art and the table, but Kensei brings the combination to the pinnacle of sophistication, with a mindful marriage of china, silverware and delectables being served. It's not every day you see a printed menu in which the food shares equal billing with the china!

In this milieu, you can't help but take the time to appreciate every visual and every scent, savoring every slow, luxurious bite, instead of simply gobbling food down.

Kensei said it's sad that many fine stores have reduced their china selections due to lack of interest. Few people have the time, inclination or talent to entertain this way anymore, but wouldn't it be wonderful if more would consider reinstating this practice, even if it means starting slowly with service for two?

Tabletops are dressed with angels, firs and other symbols of Christmas.

At Kensei's dining table, another holiday tree is set on an equally graphic, contrasting stone chessboard.

We could follow along the courses with a printed menu as guide, listing both food selections and dinnerware.

Amuse bouche of escargot-style stuffed mushroom served in a delicate English etched crystal bowl over Royal Copenhagen mini saucer.
Pumpkin mousse with caviar served in a Royal KPM bowl and cameo plate.

Kensei in his kitchen with his "Creation Sushi."

Plated on an etched crystal plate and Meissen dinner plate were sushi rice with ahi, hamachi and unagi over pumpkin bread.

Kensei-style "Furofuki Daikon" with miso and red ginger, presented in a Herend-covered compote and dinner plate. The compote was designed to be used as a butter dish.

A Czechoslovakian art glass compote and hand-painted Royal Worcester plate offered the royal blue backdrop for a crunchy salad of Japanese cucumber and roast beef.

There was texture and a gold-beaded quality to the paint on the beautiful Royal Worchester plate.

An intermezzo of homemade blackberry, blueberry and yuzu sorbe was served in a Baccarat crystal stemmed glass over a white- and strawberry-hued Meissen plate.

Japanese-style bouillabaisse of hamachi, delicate fishcake, shrimp and enoki, was served in 130-year-old Wajima covered lacquer compote and lacquer plate over a hand-painted Noritake plate.

The Noritake plate also had textured gold paint.

Dessert was Kensei's secret rum liqueur cake (available at Longs Drugs), served with mint ice cream and sliced kiwi in a Baccarat crystal compote over a Lamberton plate graced with circles of shamrocks.

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