Taking Cues From Nature, Georgette Farkas Sets a Table on the Connecticut Coast That’s a Treat for All of the Senses

Garden party with a colorful spread of crudités and appetizer salads, and flowersSetting is important to Georgette Farkas, owner of Rôtisserie Georgette in New York City. From the serene blue-and-white Portuguese Azulejo tiles framing the open kitchen to the warm hand-scraped wood floors and leather banquettes, you at once feel welcomed and awed by her Upper East Side restaurant’s beautiful décor. The building had been home to the famed Copacabana, which moved to another location in 1992. Farkas first saw the space as a plain white box with concrete floors, and took her time finding place settings in London’s silver vaults, vintage and antique accessories for the private dining room, and custom rôtisseries from France that are the centerpiece of the restaurant’s cuisine.

When it came to planning a celebration for friends and family who collaborated on the restaurant’s creation, the setting was a top consideration, and Farkas chose her mother’s estate on Flying Point in Stony Creek. She wanted the event to be elegant without being fussy and took advantage of breathtaking views by setting up the dinner’s courses on several areas of the property. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were located at a bar on the point, first-course salads and a main-course buffet were served on the main lawn, and dessert was enjoyed on the front terrace. When it comes to entertaining, Farkas says: “Let the setting be your guide. Create around the available space, and let your guests move around. You don’t have to be stuck at one table.”

Farkas likes a menu that has a sense of place—for the party at Flying Point, she used vegetables from her mother’s garden to create a colorful spread of crudités and appetizer salads, and flowers for the tables’ centerpieces. Her mother, Francine Farkas Sears, has always enjoyed cooking and imparted the idea to her daughter that taking the time to invite guests to a meal in your home is like offering a gift.

Her number-one tip for easy entertaining? “Be organized,” Farkas advises. “Everything takes longer than you think. Don’t make the menu complex, and work with your space, equipment and cooking abilities. Buy the best stuff you can, and keep it simple.” And don’t fuss over making things perfect: Farkas likes using mismatched place settings, and a mix of colors and textures. Serving food on platters family-style also takes off some of the pressure. Prepping as much as possible the day before not only helps make the meal go smoothly, it also gives you more time to be with your guests.

Growing up, Farkas had the good fortune to learn about cooking and entertaining from her mother and the cooks they had in their home. And her celebration at Flying Point hit all the high notes—a beautiful setting, simple and delicious food, a sense of place, and most of all, sharing her mother’s idea of offering friends and family a heartfelt gift.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2014 issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Georgette's Feast.