Inspired by Bon Appétit’s Dream Dinner Party series, which asks celebrities and notable figures to describe their fantasy gathering, we thought we’d flip the questions over to our very own staff. Here, Peacock General Manager and Wine Director James Pottie tells us about the soirée of his dreams.
Q: First thing’s first: guest list! Which three people—living, deceased, historical or fictional—would you invite?
Easy: They’re all dead. Prince would be the guest of honour, and I would invite my favourite actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and—kind of a cliché answer—but to round it out I would have Anthony Bourdain. How can you have a dinner party and not invite someone who will grease the wheels like Bourdain? So I’d end up with an energetic, sassy atmosphere of charismatic characters.
Q: Where would you choose to host?
I would want to host right at home, wherever that might be.
Q: What’s on the menu? Are you ordering in or cooking up a storm?
Definitely cooking up a storm! I have to say I’m pretty hands-on in the kitchen and love cooking for people. It’s one of my primary love languages.
Prince is vegetarian so it gives me a chance to flex my vegetarian cooking skills and hone in on tasty veg-focused dishes. My menu would depend on the season, but if we’re talking summer I’d veer towards garden tomatoes and peaches with nuts and fresh herbs, sherry vinegar and deep soy sauces, miso or beurre blanc.
I’d also carve out room for some beautifully cooked meats. I usually lean towards steak, lamb or veal as a special occasion dish. With these, I’d pair them with either deep, earthy Japanese flavours or bright, fresh Mediterranean flavours, depending on the mood.
Q: What kind of wine will you be pouring?
I’d start with some bubbles, mostly because we’re celebrating them all not being dead anymore! I’d serve either a bright, fresh pét-nat or Champagne to elevate the savoury undertones with their acid.
I’d then move into savoury reds. I’m a big fan of Sicilian reds from Mount Etna, Barolo, Xinomavro from Greece, Pinot Noir or Cinsault. I’m not a big bold meaty red wine guy, so I tend to stick with those lighter but structured earthy reds.
Q: Any tips for home cooks looking to impress their guests?
Be attentive, listen to your guests’ needs, be thoughtful, and think of the dining experience as a love letter to those in your dining room. Treat your dinner or wine with the same amount of love, respect and effort you would a gift or poem. Don’t be afraid to give it 110%.
Q: Is there a theme or any suggested dress code in effect?
I don’t think any of those three guests would need to be told what to wear! I trust them to bring it.
Q: How do you set your table to make it your own?
I would keep it pretty subdued, but at the same time lavish. In a world where money is no object, this means beautiful handcrafted ceramics, some florals but not over the top, beautiful stemware for different wine pairings, and detailed cutlery.
Q: Last but certainly not least, what’s cued up on the playlist?
The only reason I know who Anthony Bourdain is is because Mark Lanegan, my favourite musician (perhaps most well-known for his role in Queens of the Stone Age), wrote the theme song to Parts Unknown. Mark is also recently deceased, so it would be somewhat fitting to have his sweet, brooding sounds set the tone of this dinner party.
At Peacock, every night is a dream dinner party—sans the dead celebrities, that is. Book your reservation and let us wine and dine you to your heart’s content.