Summer by the Sea

We couldn’t be more excited about our summer plans because Holiday House is back to the Hamptons in 2016 at this stunning estate at 100 Crescent Avenue on Mecox Bay in Watermill!

100 Crescent Avenue in Watermill, NY is the home of Holiday House Hamptons 2016.
100 Crescent Avenue in Watermill, NY is the home of Holiday House Hamptons 2016.

The contemporary home, designed by PRDG architecture + design, is the epitome of Hamptons living with a rooftop tennis court, infinity pool, wine cellar, movie theater and extraordinary views. Every detail is exquisite, and the beauty of the land calls to us. They have been meticulous in their choice of appliances as well. They have definitely looked at the portable air conditioner reviews and the kitchen appliance reviews available because everything matches and works amazingly together.

View from a terrace.
View of Mecox Bay from a terrace.

Twenty-one cutting edge designers will bring to life their visions for inspired seaside living. As the design duo 2Michaels said, “What is so special about the Hamptons is the purity of air and light. The water provides a spiritual element. Our room is an appreciation of these simple but essential ingredients. It’s what life should be about.”

Sunset from the infinity pool.
Sunset from the infinity pool.

Venus Williams and her interior design company V-Starr are designing a sitting area adjacent to the home’s rooftop tennis court. “The roof deck is such a unique space, with both a tennis court and the incredible views of the water. Our vision was to design a space that reflected this while staying true to the Hamptons spirit,” said Williams.

For five weeks we will bask in the beauty that all of the designers create and we invite you to join us. All visitor information is on our website.

Now that summer is here, you can get your best white attire together because we will celebrate our designers’ gorgeous work with an Opening Night White Party on June 18 to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Thanks to Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, Corcoran, Douglas Elliman, 456 Development Group and McCall Wines for their support of this festive evening. Get your tickets before they sell out.

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Designers for Holiday House Hamptons 2016: 2Michaels, Anne Tarasoff Interiors, Baltimore Design Group, Barbara Ostrom & Associates, Carmiña Roth Interiors, Chad James Group, DORFMAN+ Sag Harbor/NYC, Elizabeth Dow Home, HB Home, Jolie Korek & Co., KARA MANN, LIAIGRE, Mabley Handler Interior Design, Maddux Creative, Melanie Roy Design, Sasha Bikoff Interior Design, TIMOTHY BROWN STUDIO, Unlimited Earth Care by Frederico Azevedo, V-Starr by Venus Williams, Wesley Moon, and West Chin Architects & Interior Designers, materials provided by Cut My Plastic and others.

Travel, Explore!

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, we are ready for summer adventures of all kinds. For Holiday House NYC 2015, Vicente Wolf reminded us that getting back to nature doesn’t mean giving up creature comforts with his clever “Glamping” design.

Photo credit: Alan Barry
Photo credit: Alan Barry

The top floor of the Academy Mansion in NYC was transformed into a woodland scene, complete with the sounds of nature played by a Savant sound system. A custom geodesic tent provided cover for the sumptuous outdoor bedroom outfitted with a Calvin Klein bed and luxury bedding. There was even a DXV tub for bathing under the stars.

The room was inspired by sponsor Ford Explorer‘s message that “It’s one thing to travel, another to explore!”

Traditional Home, our media partner for the 2015 NYC showhouse, and Ford created a map of road trips in the vicinity of NYC to inspire you to get out and have your own summer adventures.

Traditional Home and Ford’s map of road trips from NYC. Illustration: Michael Mullan,


Winding Down Winter

On this snowy day, the bitter winds and extra layers under our coats kindly remind us that March “comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”. So, don’t put away those snow boots just yet and let’s remember what makes this brutal season, beautiful!

The white-washed city skyline resembles Björn Björnsson’s “Snow Day” themed living room in our Holiday House NYC 2015. Björn’s inspiration for the space was drawn from his winter wonderland childhood in Iceland. Björn masterfully brightened the mahogany wrapped walls with contrasting selections of white-lacquered, mirrored, and crystal pieces. The room was flooded with light. Playful accessories and vivid blue colors on canvas transformed the space into the perfect place to curl up on everyone’s favorite day, a Snow Day.


photo courtesy of Alan Barry
photo courtesy of Alan Barry

The large contributor and sponsor of this blizzard- like atmosphere is Christopher Guy. Björn anchors the space with a custom Martigny Sofa wrapped around a Harper Coffee Table. The Kravet crystal logs tucked away in the fireplace sparked Björn’s vision for the room. Mimicking snowballs, illuminated Vedere globes scattered the floor as twinkling tree lights shined through the ice dusted windows.

photo courtesy of Decorators Best Blog
photo courtesy of Decorators Best Blog

Although Winter seems never-ending, it is just the beginning of a new season at Holiday House! So in the meantime, how do we cure our end-of-the-season blues when we are caught off guard by a snowy Winter’s day?

Wrap yourself in a fur throw with a loved one and indulge in something warm and delicious like designer Robert Passal’s favorite hearty soup!


Carmalized Onion and Portobello Mushroom Soup with Goat Cheese Crostini, by Ronda Carman. 



3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 pounds onions, halved, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)

4-6 fresh thyme sprigs

1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stemmed, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick strips

3 tablespoons Cognac

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 cups of beef broth

1 cup dry white wine

18 1-inch-thick slices French bread baguette, toasted

8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, room temperature



Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large pot over high heat. Add onions and thyme; saute until onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook until onions are carmalized, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to medium bowl.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in same pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; saute until soft, about 12 minutes. Add Cognac and garlic; stir 20 seconds. Stir in onion mixture, then broth and wine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer until onions are very tender, about 45 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs.

Preheat boiler. Place baguette slices on large baking sheet. Spread goat cheese on baguette slices, diving equally. Broil goat cheese croutons until cheese begins to brown in spots, about 30 seconds. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Top with croutons and serve.


In the mood for something sweet? Snuggle up with Björn Björnsson’s favorite boozy Winter treat:


Holiday Rum Snowballs 



2 cups Vanilla Wafers

1 Cup Sweetened Coconut

2 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup

1/2 Cup Rum



Food Process or use a blender to crush waders very fine.

Combine 2 cups wafers crushed, coconut, 1 cup confection sugar, light syrup and rum.

Roll into 3/4 inch balls and place on wax paper. Sift remaining confections sugar on them so they are totally covered.



Stay warm!

The Holiday House Team

Bidding a Sweet Farewell to Summer

Over the long Labor Day weekend we relish the last lingering moments of summer and prepare for fall’s work ahead.

In 2014, when Holiday House Hamptons took place at Watchcase, the extraordinary building complex in Sag Harbor that has been converted from a historic factory into unique residences, designer James Huniford paid tribute to Labor Day with a loft design that reflected the building’s history. He said, “Taking inspiration from early 20th century factory buildings, our room shows a modern perspective on industrial living with clean lines, textured fabrics, large-scale art and a touch of luxury.”

Huniford_2 Rikki Snyder
Photo courtesy of Rikki Snyder.

His living room was the perfect mix of elegance and laid back summer living, even including a custom designed, hanging, blue leather chair for indoor swinging.

Huniford_3 Rikki Snyder
Photo courtesy of Rikki Snyder.

A monumental Louise Nevelson wood sculpture, on loan from Pace Gallery, was the perfect scale for the space as well as an apt metaphor for its transformation given how the artist reappropriated found objects to create soaring works of art. Huniford told The New York Times, “We wanted to use pieces that highlight the great light, high ceilings and architecture of the space.”

It’s always hard to say good-bye to summer, but we will bid a sweet farewell with a Blueberry Smash, a drink that takes advantage of late summer’s bounty.  The recipe is below and on

The fact that we are looking forward to an exciting Holiday House NYC 2105 also makes the transition to fall a little easier!   Sponsor Calvin Klein will host our kick off party in October and the showhouse, in partnership with Traditional Home, will be back at the Academy Mansion, 2 East 63rd Street, from November 11 to December 2. Mark your calendars for our Opening Night Gala on November 10. Once again, all proceeds will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

In the meantime, enjoy the last moments of summer!

Blueberry Smash (from Bon Appétit) 

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  • 2 lemons, sliced into rounds
  • 2 limes, sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • 3/4 cup St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)


  • Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, coarsely mash lemon and lime slices, blueberries, and mint leaves in a large pitcher. Stir in vodka, St-Germain, and 2 cups of ice cubes.
  • Divide drink among coupe or highball glasses; top with more ice cubes. Garnish each drink with a mint sprig.

Summer Weddings

Summer is high wedding season and we are thinking about everything from gift registry trends and setting up a newlywed home to the design of a glamorous dressing room for the bride…

Inspired by her daughter Danielle’s upcoming nuptials, Holiday House founder Iris Dankner created a Bridal Suite for the 2014 Holiday House NYC. The centerpiece of the space – a stunning bridal dress by Isabelle Armstrong illuminated by the elegant “Arctic Pear” Chandelier from Ochre, had everyone hearing wedding bells. The walls and ceiling were outfitted in fabulous coverings by Maya Romanoff and the “Brigitte” Swivel Lounge from Lewis-Mittman provided a comfortably chic cushion to sit and ponder whether or not to say yes to the dress. The bride and her party could enjoy champagne out of crystal flutes from Baccarat all while being tempted by delicious sweets from LaDuree. Glittering accessories from Michael C. Fina added the finishing touch.

Photographed by Alan Barry

Before tying the knot, one of the most important (and fun) aspects of the planning process is the Gift Registry. Our friends at Michael C. Fina and Katherine’s Bridal Boutique have shared with us the trends they are seeing for registries this season. These elegant pieces will be part of family celebrations and memories for many years to come.

Registry Trends:

1. Platinum patterns rather than the traditional gold patterns
Some popular registered patterns:
Vintage by Bernardaud
Mosaique Au 24 Platine by Hermes
Arcades Grey & Platinum by Philippe Deshouliers

2. Moroccan inspired designs
Some popular registered patterns:
Venise by Bernardaud
Voyage en Ikat by Hermes

3. Natural stone
Some popular registered patterns:
Carrara by Dibbern
Malachite by L’Objet

Voyage en Ikat by Hermes, Courtesy of the Michael C. Fina Website

Finally, lets talk flowers. With so many beautiful blooms in season, choosing the right florals for the wedding can be a daunting task. We can’t help but be reminded of the vibrant, beautiful table arrangements created by the wonderful ladies at Lilee Fell Flowers for last year’s Holiday House Hamptons White Gala. The light pink, fuschia, and bright green hues played beautifully against the all-white crowd. These gorgeous arrangements would add a fresh, breezy touch of romance to any summer wedding!

Photographed by Richard Lewin
Photographed by Richard Lewin

In honor of Danielle Dankner and her Groom-to-Be Sam, we leave you with Iris’s Recipe for “A Happy Marriage”. Congratulations, you two!

“A Happy Marriage”


Combine two caring hearts. Melt into one. Add a lot of love. Mix well with respect and trust. Add gentleness, laughter, faith, hope, and joy. Pour in much understanding. Sprinkle with kisses and, a dash of hugs. Bake for a lifetime. 

Yields: One Happy Couple. For a little excitement, add Champagne! 



Vive La France!

As the French celebrate Bastille Day today, we are paying tribute to the French (and Francophile) companies and designers who have brought their je ne sais quoi to Holiday House.

Le Quatorze Juillet was Michael Tavano‘s ode to French style for Holiday House NYC 2014.  With a color palette inspired by the French flag, sumptuous pieces by French furnishings house Roche Bobois and couture details throughout, Tavano conjured up a Parisian pied-a-terre that is the embodiment of chic.

Roche Bobois furnishings in Michael Tavano’s “Le Quatorze Julliet” room. Photo by Rick Lew.

The woven rope window treatment he created with his workroom Marks & Tavano based on Olivier Rousteing’s fall 2014 runway collection for the house of Balmain was one of the most talked about details from the showhouse.

Balmain inspired window treatment by Marks & Tavano. Photo by Rick Lew.

Another shows stopper at the 2014 Holiday House NYC was Amy Lau Design’s dining room that celebrated 250 years of exquisite design by legendary French company Baccarat. Galerie des Glaces was inspired by Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors and was glittering with a Baccarat chandelier, table settings, vases, candelabras and more. Even the carpet by Kyle Bunting was inspired by the design of Baccarat cut glass.

Photo by Alan Barry.
Detail of custom carpet by Kyle Bunting inspired by Baccarat.
Detail of custom carpet by Kyle Bunting.

And we can’t forget the first time that Bastille Day was officially celebrated at Holiday House with Décor by Guillaume Gentet’s French infused room for the inaugural Holiday House Hamptons in 2013.

Photo from
Photo from

Go Design Go perfectly described the room when they said it “celebrated a regal tradition of elegance with specific gestures toward modern creature comforts.”  Contemporary Roche Bobois furnishings and period inspired pieces elegantly played off of one another with Chesley McLaren‘s whimsical painting of Place de Vendome as a backdrop. Other French brands that were featured include Verel de Belval and Créations Métaphores.

Guillaume Gentet and Chesley McLaren with her mural.
Guillaume Gentet and Chesley McLaren with her mural.

Santé with French martinis and Ladurée confections.  Vive la France!

Photo from
Photo from




Tropical Getaway

For those traveling over Spring break, may you bask in the sun somewhere breathtaking.  And for those staying at home, we bring you tropical inspiration from past Holiday Houses to warm your thoughts and help you say a definitive good-bye to winter!

In November 2014, Gary McBournie transported us to a Caribbean isle with his vibrant room for Holiday House NYC, which was entirely tented in striped fabric from Gary’s own resort-inspired line for Antilles Designs.

Design: Gary McBournie Inc. Photo: Alan Barry Photography.

Bamboo furnishings, tropical plants, coral and even a fireplace full of conch shells made the NYC winter seem thousands of miles away.

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Gary McBournie’s clever fireplace styling. Photo: Decor Arts Now blog.

For Leslie Banker of Pamela Banker Associates‘ room in Holiday House NYC 2014, the theme may have been New Year’s Eve but the Clarence House “Lyford Key” wallpaper screamed island vacation!

Design: Pamela Banker Associates. Photo: Alan Barry Photography.

At Holiday House Hamptons in 2014, Scott Formby created an “Poolhouse Lounge” inspired by Europeans’ relaxing August holidays.  An evocative, large-scale painting of palm trees brought a little of the tropics to the Hamptons.

Design: Scott Formby. Photo: Rikki Snyder.

Wherever you may be, enjoy the Spring holidays and toast the tropics with a favorite of Gary McBournie’s:

“Pants Off Punch”

Gary’s friend entertainologist Lulu Powers shared this drink recipe that captures the free-spirited fun of a Carribean holiday.


  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 bottle dry champagne
  • 3 cups Malibu rum


Combine and away you go ….



Spring Awakening

To say it has been a long winter would be an understatement.  The weather forecast for the first day of Spring even includes snow flurries, but all those daffodil leaves bravely poking through the ground give us hope that beautiful weather is just around the corner.


To get us in the mood, we are celebrating the Spring Equinox by reflecting on inspired displays of flowers – both real and artistic interpretations – in past Holiday House design spaces.

For Holiday House Hamptons in 2014, Campion Platt infused his master bedroom with an exuberant, feminine feel by having de Gournay‘s oversized lilies (‘Lilium’ on Custom Cream Edo painted silk) dance over the headboard, which was upholstered in a fresh, green fabric from Beacon Hill.

Photo by Peter Dressel.

Jennifer Duneier‘s 2011 Easter themed room for Holiday House NYC was also inspired by the season of rebirth.  Traditional Home said, “The pink tones of the flower photograph reference the symbols of Spring in an elegant, sophisticated way.”  Vases by Lladro and a custom designed chair brought to life by Avery Boardman also reflect the floral forms while the geometric “Kikko Trellis” wall covering by Osborne & Little plays the support that holds them up.

For her “Spring Forward” room in 2012, Tobi Fairley gathered delicate pinks in the peonies, furnishings, art and accessories to represent the Spring spirit, which seems to float gently on top of the strong black and white background.

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Photo from Tobi Fairley’s blog.

Laura Krey brought even more of Spring to our winter show house in 2014 with this exquisite wall installation of porcelain flowers by Brooklyn-based artist Syra Gomez, which were scattered across Farrow & Ball‘s bird-like Yukutori wallpaper.

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Photo from York Avenue blog.

In 2013, J+G Design breathed some fresh air onto the grand marble stair landing of the early 20th century mansion that houses Holiday House NYC with custom Fromental panels featuring flowering, bird-filled trees.

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Photo from J+G Design’s blog.

Honoring Holiday House NYC’s first year benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 2012, we were thrilled to exhibit the artwork of BCRF founder Evelyn Lauder, much of which was inspired by Spring’s floral bounty.

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Photo by Evelyn H. Lauder.

And now to get you even more in the mood for the season (or to forget about the possible snow!), here is a refreshing cocktail suggestion, courtesy of Campion Platt:

*Spring Awakening Cocktail* 

Gin, Lillet and citrus pop on the palate in this refreshing cocktail from Drink. Well. In Austin.

3/4 oz. gin
3/4 oz. Lillet Rouge
3/4 oz. Paula’s Texas Lemon (or substitute triple sec)
3/4 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
Absinthe (for rinsing the glass)
Tools: shaker, strainer, fine strainer
Glass: coupe

Rinse a chilled coupe with absinthe. In a shaker, combine the remaining four ingredients, shake with ice and fine-strain into absinthe-rinsed coupe.

Beautiful Inside and Out

In honor of International Women’s Day this weekend, we are celebrating some of the women who inspire us.

For Holiday House NYC 2014, founder Iris Dankner enlisted celebrity portrait photographer Francis Hills to take a series of stunning nude photographs of breast cancer survivors, which became the “Heart of the House” exhibition in the event’s center courtyard.

Photographer Francis Hills (right) poses with the beautiful and brave Clothing Immaterial models.

These new images are part of Hills’ decade long “Clothing Immaterial” project for which he has compiled hundreds of images of men and women, often models, actors and other celebrities, who have bared all in order to “raise their hand” in support of breast cancer awareness.

HH-Portraits copy
View of the “Heart of the House” exhibit.

The series for Holiday House NYC is a special part of this project because all of the women are breast cancer survivors. They are mothers, artists, businesswomen, activists, who all have their own personal experience with the disease.

It was a powerful experience for them to show and celebrate their bodies in front of the lights and camera. Hills said of the women, “They are all incredibly brave and incredibly beautiful. The scars are really only surface. It’s what inside that counts. I tried to allow them to be themselves in front of the camera and to show them how incredibly beautiful they are.”

During the 2014 showhouse, Champagne Joy, one the gorgeous “Clothing Immaterial” models, held a party to celebrate the exhibit and her #Cancerland initiative, which is both a television documentary and a breast cancer charity that creates a support group of survivors to make sure that other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer do not feel alone as they navigate treatment and life with the disease.

Michelle Schoenfeld and Champagne Joy with Olympian Miles Chamley-Watson and a group photo of some of the models.

All proceeds from Holiday House benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and another primary objective of the showhouse has also always been to raise awareness about the disease and build support for survivors and their loved ones.

“To me, the exhibition was really about hope and strength. Breast cancer is no longer a death sentence. The “Heart of the House” showed women that after fighting cancer, you don’t just survive– you thrive!” said Iris Dankner.

Sponsor ibuydesign created this video of the #Cancerland party and it really shows the spirit the showhouse and the “Heart of the House” as well.

Love is in the Air

We are touched by the inspiration and warmth that fills Holiday House each year, and it was so special to have two of our remarkable designers celebrate their love for their partners at the showhouse.

Gentet Carpenter Wedding
Guillaume Gentet and David Carpenter at their 2013 Wedding Ceremony. Photo credit: Christopher Goodney

There wasn’t a dry eye when Guillaume Gentet and David Carpenter held their wedding ceremony in the courtyard their firm Decor by Guillaume Gentet designed for Holiday House NYC 2013.

To make it even sweeter, they returned in 2014 to create a “Honeymoon in Paris” suite that celebrated their anniversary and paid homage to their holiday in the City of Love.

Their inspiration was Paris’ famed Hotel de Crillon, and the centerpiece for the room was a romantic bed enveloped in luxurious Robert Allen fabrics and embroidered sheets of Gentet’s own design. The exquisite, hand-painted Farrow & Ball wallpaper that graced the walls was a replica of historic wallpaper found at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and artwork by Chesley McLaren punctuated the space with whimsy and a nod to fashion.

Décor by Guillaume Gentet's "Honeymoon in Paris" design for Holiday House NYC 2014. Photo credit:
Décor by Guillaume Gentet’s “Honeymoon in Paris” design for Holiday House NYC 2014. Photo credit: Alan Barry Photography.

In yet another romantic Holiday House story, our loyal designer and supporter Ally Coulter met her now husband Eric Vincent in her room at Holiday House 2012.

Eric Vincent and Ally Coulter at Holiday House NYC 2014. Photo credit:
Eric Vincent and Ally Coulter at Holiday House NYC 2014. Photo credit: Annie Watt Photography.

They celebrated their recent nuptials with a chic party in Ally Coulter Designs’ “Roman Holiday” space at the 2014 Holiday House NYC. Sexy furnishings by FENDI Casa and an stunning mix of artwork, from Italian Baroque masters to Robert Farber’s evocative contemporary work, made a perfect setting for the festivities.

Ally Coulter Designs’ “Roman Holiday” space for Holiday House NYC 2014. Photo credit: Alan Barry Photography.
Photo credit: Miguel Dominquez
Photo credit: Miguel Dominquez

Of course, there was also the red Vespa and Pallini limoncello for all!

On this Valentine’s Day, we wish Guillaume and David, Ally and Eric, and all of our supporters much love and happiness.

We can’t wait to see who will be hit by Cupid’s arrow next at Holiday House 2015!

To get you in the mood for love, below are some spicy and sweet recipes that Ally and Guillaume have shared with us.


Penne Arrabiata, provided by Ally Coulter


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, in sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried red chili
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil, more if using fresh
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 lb dry penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese, plus
  • extra finely grated pecorino romano cheese, for serving


  1. Put oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes until beginning to turn golden, careful not to burn.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low.
  4. Add chili and stir.
  5. Add tomatoes and sauce and stir.
  6. Bring salted water to boil in a large saucepan.
  7. Cook sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add penne to boiling water and cook until al dente.
  9. Strain pasta.
  10. Push sauce through moulie or meshed strainer into saucepan with the back of a spoon getting as much through as you can.
  11. Heat and add 1/2 cup of pecorino cheese.
  12. Taste for seasoning, add basil and pepper.
  13. Add cooked penne and toss.
  14. Serve hot with extra pecorino cheese at the table.


Strawberry & White Chocolate Mille Feuille (c/o Gordon Ramsey) – provided by Decor by Guillaume Gentet


  • plain flour for dusting
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for serving
  • 350g puff pastry
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 600g strawberries
  • small bunch of basil, leaves picked, with a few of the smaller leaves left whole for the salad
  • zest ½ lemon
  • 50g good-quality white chocolate


Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. On a lightly floured surface scattered with a little sugar, roll out the pastry to a rectangle slightly larger than 28 x 30cm. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and scatter with more sugar. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry onto the baking parchment.

Scatter more caster sugar over the pastry and cover with another sheet of baking parchment. Lay another heavy baking sheet (or a baking sheet weighed down with an empty ceramic oven dish if yours aren’t heavy) on top and bake for 25-30 mins until the pastry is golden and crisp, then set aside to cool.

To make the filling, tip the cream into a bowl with 3 tbsp of sugar, and the vanilla seeds. Lightly whisk until the cream just hold its shape and set aside. Hull and quarter the strawberries and set a few aside for the salad, then cut the rest into 3 or 4 chunks. Finely shred the basil, then fold through the cream with the chopped strawberries and lemon zest, then chill until needed.

When the pastry has cooled completely trim the edges to form a neat 28 x 30cm rectangle. Cut into 3 equal rectangles – to get them precisely the same size, cut one then lay it on the rest of the pastry and use it as a guide to the next rectangle, then repeat.

To assemble the mille feuille, lay down one rectangle of pastry, add half of the cream and strawberry mix and flatten with the back of a spoon. Place the second pastry layer on top and gently press down. Finely grate over half the white chocolate and top with the remaining cream mix. Place the final layer of pastry on and press down gently so that the filling just starts to bulge over the edges.

Use a palette knife to smooth the filling along the sides so that it is level with the edges of pastry and fills any gaps. Add a smear of filling across cut pastry edges to help the grated chocolate to stick. Grate chocolate on top. The easiest way to get grated chocolate to stick to the sides is to help it on with a palette knife. Mix the reserved strawberries and the small basil leaves to make a simple salad.

To serve, carefully slice the mille feuille into 6 equal pieces. As you slice, hold the mille feuille together by placing a finger at either side of the blade. Place a piece of mille feuille to the side of each plate. Spoon a small pile of strawberry salad on the opposite side of the plate and serve.