“Fun, colorful and chic.” They’re three words Los Angeles caterer and event planner Lulu Powers uses to describe her work and—as you’ll realize after spending just one minute with her—they’re a spot-on characterization of the woman herself. A bundle of creative energy, Powers always has a wealth of ideas on tap that she is quick to share with her clientele when dreaming up their latest fête. She gets it, she says, from “my parents, and especially my mom. She has an almost instinctual knack for tablescapes; she can make anything look good.” Having segued from private chef-to-the-stars to high-profile event planner, mentor (Powers teaches private cooking classes) and book author, the inventive yet practical Powers—a favorite table setting involves personal notes etched across colorful construction- paper placemats—tackles it all with the same carefree, no-hassle approach. “So many people are scared of entertaining, but it’s easy to be a good host,” she says. “You just need to make people feel special; that’s what they’ll remember.”
LX: I got started...
LP: As a private chef when I was 15. I was working for cookbook author Sarah Leah Chase, who had a fantastic takeout shop on Nantucket (I spent my summers there), and when a client told her he needed a chef, she said, “Oh, one of those Powers girls can do it.”
LX: Greatest influences:
LP: My mother and father, definitely. They were both really good cooks and incredible hosts, and they taught me that nothing you do in the kitchen is wrong. My mom always says, “Fear is like fire—you either cook with it or you let it burn you.” Can you imagine?
LX: Favorite color:
LP: I love orange! It’s cheerful and goes with just about everything.
LX: Go-to host gift:
LP: Either a batch of cookies, some new food product I’ve found that I can’t live without—I’ve recently discovered a great non-alcoholic beverage called 12NtM that you can mix with practically anything— or Peter Luger steak sauce.