ENTERTAINING WITH PATRICK JANELLE
CFDA's inaugural "Instagrammer of the Year" shows how he entertains for hundreds, and for a small group of friends in his Soho backyard.
Our day with Patrick began at 5am in New York City's Flower District, just as the sun began to peek over the Midtown skyline.
He was gathering flowers for the evening's Spring Street Social Society dinner - an event series he co-founded that "brings people together in unexpected spaces." Birthed as an informal cabaret in his Nolita backyard, SSSS (for short) has evolved into a four-night long, nearly five hundred person affair. While food is central to the evening's agenda, SSSS considers sight, sound and motion equally important to the dining experience. Always seeking to surprise, past events have included acapella-singing busboys, knife jugglers and ukelele tunes by Patrick's co-host, Amy. In the spirit of serendipity, guests are notified of the venue the morning of, inviting them to an unconventional, raw space, transformed by the people and the energy of the event.
But this time around, the host himself was met with a surprise. Just two days prior, the planned venue backed away, leaving Patrick to frantically find an equally interesting (and large enough) space. As we arrive to the flower district, we reluctantly ask, "Any luck?" Still unnerved, yet relieved, Patrick managed to secure a banquet room at the Highline Hotel - a former monastery, newly converted into a boutique hotel, but with its original structure (and some furnishings) respectfully maintained.
We follow Patrick to the venue, as he transforms the former basement gym into a still-recognizable, yet completely evolved space.
Once a graphic designer for Bon Appetit, Patrick has a natural design sensibility, evident from the self-made floral arrangements to his un-traditional choice of tableware. But we (along with 250K+ other people) came to know Patrick through his Instagram account, modestly called @aguynamedpatrick. He considers his artfully-curated Instagram account a personal journal, chronicling his food explorations, travels and an insider's view of fashion, as CFDA's inaugural "Instagrammer of the Year."
Curious to see beyond the glimpses from Instagram, I visited Patrick at home, while he hosted a small dinner party in his backyard. Although modest in scale in comparison to the recent dinner party for SSSS, Patrick applies the same attention to detail and warm hospitality to every occasion. I quietly snapped photos from the background, as Patrick treated his friends to a beautiful spread of charcuterie, crostinis, heirloom tomato salad and poached salmon. Although I made my way before the evening completely drew to a close, the merriment undoubtedly continued, as Patrick and friends laughed, drank and instagrammed (naturally) well into the evening.