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GREY Chefs: Laila Gohar

For the launch of GREY Jason Wu, we hosted the first of a series of intimate dinners with friends encouraging collaboration and personal experience. For our launch, Jason collaborated with chef Laila Gohar (@LailaCooks) to create an immersive, participatory experience with ease and creativity. Laila's interpretation of GREY Jason Wu through her own medium was fascinating and her introduction to each course 'experience' so personal. She even brought to life our first artist collaboration with Hunt Slonem, who created the bunny print present throughout the collection, with an artist palate of vegetables and edible watercolor cakes. Laila's laid back approach, fresh (and beautiful!) ingredients, and catching positivity proved that nothing beats playing with your food, and friends. Below Laila shares some insight with us on her unique approach as an experiential chef.

HOW DID YOU APPROACH COMMUNICATING THE LAUNCH OF GREY JASON WU THROUGH FOOD?

With every project, I study the identity of the brand and think about the occasion being celebrated. 

With GREY, I talked with Jason about his idea of the "Grey Girl" and together reviewed his collection and mood board. To me, the Grey Girl felt effortlessly chic, easygoing but knows what she wants, and understands the beauty in simplicity. I also considered that this is a launch, the reveal of a vision for a new line, and combined all of these concepts when conceptualizing the dinner. 

I thought that tropical plants and flowers would be perfect because that's what a Grey Girl would be into-- nothing too fussy or girly. With the food, I focused on the theme of a "reveal". My team and I created recipes that were wrapped in different leaves, or transformational. Things that you had to unwrap in order to reveal the food.

WHAT DID YOUR MENTAL MOOD BOARD FOR GREY LOOK LIKE? 

I always create physical mood boards for projects. This one for GREY Jason Wu was full of tropical images of the Oaxaca botanical garden, Las Pozas in Mexico, David Hockney inspired color palettes, a Mies Van Der Roh chair, images of a Berber palm wrapping tradition, and so on.

A big, imaginative mix, nothing too literal!

WHAT DOES 'GREY LA VIE' MEAN TO YOU? 

The Grey Girl feels effortlessly chic. Her life is balanced: she works hard but understands the importance of time off and fun! She lives fully and with purpose. She's the type of girl whose convivial energy is contagious.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE CREATIVE COLLABORATORS? 

Collaborations are always the most fruitful when the collaborators trust each other, giving each other room and freedom to express themselves. If i'm being hired to design the food experience I need my instinct, eye and palette to be trusted. Jason was incredible in this sense. For me that is the formula for the most rewarding collaborations, and the result is always the best. 

HOW DO YOU BALANCE AESTHETIC WITH TASTE WHEN PREPARING A BEAUTIFUL MEAL? 

I believe that things that look good together taste good together. For example, complimentary colors in vegetables often have complimentary flavor notes. The best cooks don't try to transform the nature of the food. For me it's about thinking of complimentary flavors and combining them to achieve a perfect harmony.

WHAT RECIPES DID YOU LEARN WHILE GROWING UP? DO YOU CONTINUE TO MAKE THEM? 

I'm from the Mediterranean. We ate lots of fish and grains, veggies swimming in olive oil, and with every meal there was pile of good quality bread. I still eat the same way. 

WHAT DO YOU FIND YOURSELF INSPIRED BY RIGHT NOW?

The south west of France, gender bending, Anna Karina, Etel Adnan, my boyfriend, the colour of brick...

HOW DO YOU APPROACH/PREPARE WHEN ENTERTAINING FOR FRIENDS? 

I entertain very often, we have people over a few times a week. I think generosity is the essence of entertaining. I like meals that are considered yet not fussy. I like abundance when it comes to preparing food for friends. Nothing too perfected or tweezered.

Quality is key. If you buy good ingredients and respect the integrity of the product you've done the job right. Also visually, the layout and how the table looks is very important. I'm very visual. You eat with your eyes first!

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