At the age of 24, Airest Newsome has found a way to blend her love of fine cuisine with an intense passion for fashion in her innovative new concept, "Dinner Party with Airest." The well-traveled military "brat" uses her dinner parties to connect stylish and influential people, delicious fare and proper etiquette in a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Here, Newsome serves up three full courses of dinner style to feed the appetite of CL's readers.
Creative Loafing: How did you come up with the concept for your parties and how does one get an invitation?
Airest Newsome: I've always loved throwing dinner parties in my home for friends. After the parties, I would get calls from my guests saying how much they enjoyed themselves and how they made some really great connections. After hearing this a few times, I was like, "I wonder if people will pay for this." From there, "Dinner Party with Airest" was born. The idea is to promote events, but more importantly, to get influential people in an intimate setting to interact and connect with each other. The parties are invitation only and you get invited simply by being good at what you do.
You've also been featured on TV as a fashion consultant. What are some dinner party faux pas or style tips for an elegant meal?
For dinner parties, know your drinking limits. Typically, at our parties, we'll have a liquor sponsor so the champagne and Grey Goose flow freely. But just because it's free doesn't mean drink as much as you can hold. That's a big no no. Also, at a dinner party or any type of classy event, too much skin and excessive dipping, stretching and pulling are all definitely faux pas.
How do you select your menu? And do your dinner parties ever include themes?
When it comes to cuisine, I like to be a risk taker and try to incorporate the feeling of the city I'm in and as many local flavors as possible. I like to introduce my guests to new foods they may not have tried before but of course still offer traditional favorites. As for themes, my parties are like an ode to the 1950s when wives would host dinners to help their husbands move up in their careers. That's what I saw my mother doing while I was growing up. Bringing back chivalry and those old-school mannerisms is chic. After all, class never goes out of style.