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Where it all began: The origin story of the Hostess in the Studio Apartment

Back in 2012, I moved into my dreamy little studio apartment right in the heart of Manhattan. The moment I saw it, I was smitten, and I begged the realtor not to show it to anyone else – I just knew it had to be mine. The place was small but charming, with a narrow galley kitchen, a little bathroom (albeit standard size for manhattan), and a main room that would be used for sleeping, living and housing the many guests who would claim residence on my couch at different points in time.

Amidst the chaos of finals, buried under a pile of exams and papers, I found the perfect distraction and procrastination project: creating my very first blog, "Traveling Plates." The overly ambitious goal of the blog was took a dish from every country in the world, A to Z, and share both the recipes and the stories behind them. As I dove into this project, I spent a ton of time in my small kitchen, and I cooked A LOT!

During this time I began to fall in love with the art of cooking in a small kitchen. There was a joy to having everything I needed to cook within an arms reach of me at all time. I learned how to navigate working in a cramped space. I used drawers as counter space, and put every square inch of the kitchen to use. I called it my tour de force. There was this amazing feeling that came from being able to create so much from just the absolute basics.

As I lived alone, it was hard having this abundance of food that I’d worked so hard to prepare, and no one to serve it to. While cooking for one can be an indulgent luxury that I do recommend trying out every once in a while, there is still no greater feeling than cooking for others. Therefore, I started showing up to the local NYU bars (ie. Josie Woods) with whatever dish I’d just made (spanakopita, meatballs, pie…etc), in hopes that I could find hungry and broke students who would be eager to indulge in my handmade meals.

I realized instead of being known as the girl who brings pies to the bars, I should be inviting people into my home so that they could see for themselves the method behind the madness - how navigating the challenge of a small kitchen, led to this innate desire to push its limits and to do as much with it as possible. This desire to maximize what I had, and prove to others (though mainly myself) that I could work wonders with limited recourses, brought me to become the exuberant small space dinner party host/ aficionado that I am today.

Throughout the 11 years that I’ve lived in my current home, I’ve had the joy of hosting countless dinners, parties, fundraisers, birthday parties for friends etc in my home, and the labor of love that has gone into planning, organizing, prepping, hosting, and cleaning up of each event, has made me a happier and more fulfilled person.

Therefore, it comes from a place of utmost sincerity that I hope people will utilize these resources and personal anecdotes that I have put together - which stem from over a decade of dinner party hosting not only in my home in New York, but in Spain, Argentina, Italy, in corporate settings, and other interesting places- to experience for themselves the magic that comes from hosting, and welcoming guests into your home.

If you are enjoying this Substack, please share it with your friends, family, coworkers, classmates - anyone you know who may be in the market for some dinner party hosting inspiration.

Please also reach out any time at to share any thoughts, questions, comments, or advice on how to host your next dinner party!

- Allie

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