Candice Kumai Will Inspire To Host a Festive Holiday Brunch

By Camille Styles
pancakes for breakfast

The other day, my morning spin instructor played that great Alicia Keys song, Girl on Fire, and as I sweated it out and thought about some of the powerful women I knew, Candice Kumai came to mind. I’ve know this bestselling author, chef, contributor to E! News and the Today show (among others) over the blogosphere for a while now, and the girl positively sizzles with energy and passion. I was thrilled when Candice invited us to peek in on the holiday brunch she threw for her squad, spilling her entertaining must-haves and go-to recipes. ELLE magazine once called her “the golden girl of wellness,” and, as is evidenced by her sparkling tabletop, turns out there’s a gilded edge to just about everything Candice touches. Keep scrolling for all the details.

*photography and interview by Alison Engstrom

My must-have entertaining tool:

A big smile and champagne glasses waiting for everyone at the door.

The entertaining rule I live by:

Be the most sincere and gracious host, and nothing store-bought allowed.

Pancakes are artfully arranged and accented with sweet raspberries and coconut flakes.

What scares you about entertaining?

Running out of champagne + people on their phones the whole time.

My signature entertaining dish:

Kale Avo Caesar and my Vegan Coconut Banana Funfetti Cake.

*click here to get the recipe for Candice’s avocado-kale caesar salad!

The taste I’m always craving:

Umami all day.

Get the recipe for Candice’s Pumpkin Mochi Tea Cake here!

The perfect dinner party playlist includes:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Steve Aoki, N.E.R.D., Passion Pit, Miike Snow

Candice picks up fresh blooms at her favorite floral shop, Sprout Home, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

Always in my refrigerator:

Avocados all day and night, tamari shoyu, miso, lacinato kale.

The most beautiful avocado toast we’ve ever seen, piled high on gluten-free bread.  

The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:

Ramen, kimchi, gyoza, and cold beer in Mom’s hometown, Beppu, Japan.

It’s the little details that count! Candice creates handwritten seat assignments for her guests.

Secret to a great dinner party:

Best friends forever, no fake people allowed.

Candice arranges flowers before her guests arrive. She combines blush hydrangeas with white dahlias and roses. 

Current favorite color palette for parties:

Lately, I’m loving lavender, pale rose, white.

My standard host / hostess outfit:

Tight black dress, little apron, cute shoes, big smile.

My dream dinner guests:

My Grandma and Grandpa on both sides of the family that are Polish and Japanese.

A serene and feminine table ready to be enjoyed. 

My entertaining style in 5 words or less:

Traditional, stylish, simple, clean, absolutely delish.

Candice with her ultimate girl squad!

Follow along on Candice’s journey (she’s currently in Japan working on her new book!) by following her on Instagram here.