VOGUE II Wendy Yu’s Guide to Hosting a Chic Chinese New Year Dinner

Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Yu

Roughly a sixth of the world will celebrate Chinese New Year this Saturday—including Chinese philanthropist and front row favorite Wendy Yu. So, how is she making her celebration stand out? “I’ve made mood boards!” says the 26-year-old from the couture shows in Paris. Yu will be heading straight from Paris to London to host an intimate dinner for 15 friends, including Mary Katrantzou and Bottletop’s Cameron Saul. “I usually spend Chinese New Year with family, however I will be transforming my Knightsbridge apartment for the occasion and having my guests celebrate with me the Chinese way!”

Here, a look at Yu’s plans—perhaps they’ll inspire a chic Chinese New Year celebration of your own.

The Mood
Red and gold meets 1930s Shanghai glamour.

The Menu
Authentic Chinese hot pot—“It represents the essence of Chinese food whilst also reflecting what I also love about London—variety, creativity, and adventure.” For the hot pot, Yu prepares a variety of dishes (seafood, meat, and vegetables), which are presented raw, and then each person cooks their own and adds it to their base soup together with condiments and sauces. “It should be especially delicious and interactive in some way, allowing guests to get to know each other and share a memorable experience.” Traditional pudding and rice cakes to follow.

The Dress Code
A touch of red. It allows guests to make a special effort to dress up but it’s also attainable—plus, setting a special theme makes the party stand out. For her part, Yu will be wearing a red Fendi dress, a lantern clutch from Charlotte Olympia, and a pair red heels from Dior.

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The Table Top
“We will have miniature orange trees dotted to symbolize prosperity and good luck,” says Yu. It’s a fantastical (and high-fashion nod) to the indoor trees at the spectacular Dior Couture show, which inspired Yu to make her event especially whimsical.

The linen will be red, with scattered gold coins and with gold-rimmed china by Wedgwood. “And many lanterns, and rooster references as we are celebrating the Year of the Rooster.”

The Traditions
“Lucky money” envelopes for each guest, and Yu suggests a Chinese card game called Dou di zhu (fight the landlord).

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The Seating Plan
In the spirit of the New Year’s positive horizons, a plan is essential—“it is really important to ensure people come away having made new friends and aren’t bored by the conversation.”

The Parting Thought
Let the Fire Rooster inspire you to share your New Year’s wish. “The Rooster means prosperity, strength, and good luck, which I think is relevant to the year ahead. I’d love to travel to Antarctica to see penguins, run a marathon!”

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On Tuesday 31st of January Edible Stories will be hosting a very special Chinese New Year for Wendy Yu and her A-List guests.

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