Friendsgiving with Lori Stern

November 16, 2017

I’ll take any excuse to round up some friends for a beautifully styled and cooked up dinner. Thanksgiving is next week so I thought this was the perfect time for a “Friendsgiving” and called my friend and private chef, Lori Stern. Not only are Lori’s creations incredibly beautiful and vibrant (just take a glance at her instagram page!) but she also uses only seasonal organic produce from local farmers. And because, why wouldn’t you eat outside when its still 70 degrees out, we picked my in-laws lemon orchard for an al fresco dinner. While Lori got busy in the kitchen I dressed up the table with brass and neutral colors.

Setting The Table

The first thing I picked up for the table were hand died silk ribbons from Tono & Co. It was the first thing that set the golden color palette—cream, honey and brass. I tied the ribbon to a feather at each place setting for a fall vibe and set the mood with tall single candle sticks, the ones from World Market are my favorite.

What Lori Served



Autumnal Cheese Plate with homemade spiced nuts, fresh and dried fruits, homemade gluten-free crackers.


Autumnal Baked Vegetable Pie in Flower Pressed Spelt Pie Dough (Wheat free).

Grilled Zucchini, + Blossoms in Dandelion Chimichuri + Toasted Pine Nuts, Fresh Basil + Mint.

Endive, Radish, Grilled Persimmon in Spiced Pepita Dressing (Gluten Free, Vegan).


Basil Satsuma Mandarin Mezcal Cocktail (refined sugar free).


Sour Cherry Rose Almond Tart + Cardamom Whipped Cream (GF).

Five Questions With Lori

Who taught you how to cook? I am a self taught chef.  When I realized that I loved creating in the kitchen and feeding people, I chose to work at a plethora of different cafes, restaurants, hotels, bakeries, etc to learn professional skills.
What’s your favorite thing to cook up in the kitchen? I love making everything!  I guess my current favorite are my flower pressed shortbread cookies because each one is different and everyone loves them so much.
We love how you add flowers to your dishes, what kinds are edible and where do you find them? Every flower I put in a dish is edible.  There are many more edible flowers out there than one would think.  My favorites to use are marigolds, calendulas, cornflowers, violas, and plumbago.
Your biggest tip for anyone hosting Thanksgiving next week? My biggest tip for anyone hosting Thanksgiving this year is to make something that is gluten free, refined sugar free and vegan…usually someone at the table avoids gluten, refined sugar and dairy.
What are you planning on making for Thanksgiving? I am actually delivering 3 Thanksgiving meals on Thanksgiving to different clients!  Every year I order Heirloom turkeys from Sage Hill Farm in Carpinteria.  I go to the farm to pick up the turkeys and it’s a great experience to see how they raise their poultry.
Favorite swear word in the kitchen? Haha, fav kitchen swear word– usually, “OH F^#& !!!” but only if I drop something and it shatters or if I hurt myself.

More Tabletop Finds To Inspire Your Table

Photography by Arna.

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