How I Gather

Bringing people together around a table is our greatest passion in life and we believe food is one of the most powerful tools for connection. In our series, How I Gather we go behind the scenes with our favorite foodies to see how they do it. See All

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.

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