These Entertaining Tips From The Naked Foodie Aka Christian Mark Jacobs Will Make You One "Quirky Party-Thrower"
"One of the things I love about food is that it breaks down barriers and brings people together. It makes people happy," shares Christian Mark Jacobs (aka The Naked Foodie), the husband of renowned fashion designer Francis Libiran. "I love watching people enjoy my food."
Christian's love affair with food started from his childhood in Southern United States, where he would stand on footstools to watch his mother create dishes from well-loved family recipes. Christian grew up with a passion for cooking, baking and entertaining, taking with him all the learning he got from having been raised in a family that appreciates and whips up good food.
“I came from a family of five and so, even if I cook for just Francis and I, it’s always too much. I don’t know how to cook for two,” Christian says, laughing. The generous, fun-loving host—who considers himself a “quirky party-thrower with an appetite for satisfying my curiosity”—holds at least one intimate gathering a week in his and Francis’ home—three at most.
When throwing parties at home, Christian is mindful of every detail, and makes sure they come together in one cohesive look. He determines a concept, based on various occasions being celebrated the world over or special occasions within his family or circle of friends, and proceeds to tailor-fit the food, setting, and other elements according to a specific theme.
Christian shares that he had thrown a Cinco de Mayo party and a 4th of July party. He says, “For Cinco de Mayo, we had spicy jalapeño margaritas. We had different types of tequila. We made fresh salsa with chips. I made tortas, I made them fresh; people chose their ingredients and we had a little sandwich grill. That was a big party, like 25 people. It’s the most that we had in the house.” The 4th of July party, on the other hand, was also enjoyed by around the same number of people, feasting on traditional American favorites like hotdogs and burgers, homemade coleslaw, and all sorts of homemade dips prepared by Christian himself.
A few days ago, Christian threw an intimate lunch in his home—where all his creatively delicious ideas were whipped up. He prepared a scrumptious menu that takes inspiration from his Southern roots, laid out in charmingly rustic tablescapes with kalamansi accents that came from their rooftop garden.
For starters, we had perfectly fluffy biscuits with apple honey butter and sweet-salty spinach salad with green beans. This was followed by hearty main courses of breaded pork chop with brown gravy, creamy mashed potato, sweet & sour green beans, and baked mac & cheese with brie topping.
Since it was lunchtime, Christian paired the food with white wine, particularly The Naked Foodie Bianco Chardonnay. The Naked Foodie wine selection of sparkling, white, rose, and red wine is the latest addition to his The Naked Foodie brand. To end a delightful and wonderfully satisfying lunch, he served a Naked Patisserie Sampler with their bestselling cakes: lemon cheesecake, strawberries n’ cream cake, and chocoholic truffle cake.
The Naked Foodie is a food and lifestyle vlog that also extends to a website that features Christian’s restaurant reviews, food and travel vlogs, recipes, and his luxury cakes and pastries brand Naked Patisserie’s e-commerce site. Why “naked?” It’s because Christian likes creating recipes from scratch and from the freshest ingredients and breaking them down to the very basics. “I try to break it down very simply,” he says, giving his perfect steak recipe, which can be done in three easy steps, as the perfect example.
Photos by Grace Libero-Cruz
If you’re into entertaining at home, too, here are some practical tips from Christian:
“I like to give what I call the sensational experience, and that’s a pun. I think about all the different senses.
“Right now, you’re hearing jazz music. That’s intentional. It’s thought out beforehand.
“Sight is really important, so you want to make the atmosphere as nice as possible. I use a lot of fresh flowers for that. I think very carefully about what plates and placemats I will choose.
“Obviously, taste—even if you’re just having friends over for drinks, you can give a little pica pica. One of my favorite things to do is, and this is so simple, here’s a little hack: you can serve brie, and usually I have two (I do a savory and a sweet). For the savory, drizzle a little olive oil on the top of the brie, sprinkle Italian seasonings, put it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes and then it just bubbles. You can serve that with bread, apple slices, or crackers. The other one I do, the sweet one, I get raspberry preserves, but you can use any kinds of jam, and you literally just put the jam on top of the brie, pop it in the oven, and serve it side by side with apples, crackers, and baguette. People always love that. That’s a good party hack. Taste is important and even if you’re just having drinks, you can find ways to mix it up.
“Smell—I’m very particular about the smell in my house. I always have scented candles.
“Even the temperature of the room is super important. If it’s too cold or hot, that actually affects the person’s experience.
“I really try to think of all the five senses. It’s a sensory experience—that’s what makes the experience enjoyable.”
Photos from @thenakedfoodie_official