Head to Sunny Han’s Instagram account @sunnyskitchen and her dedication towards details – of every kind – is plainly obvious. One post shows the stylish Singapore-based Korean food stylist and F&B consultant delicately painting candles for a dinner party, while another depicts her artfully decorated Easter eggs, which took inspiration from Claude Monet’s kitchen and dining room in Giverny.
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It is perhaps Han’s meticulous and intimate attention to furnishings and details that recently saw her being one of three hosts for a series of private dinners Hermes organised for the press screening of its Fall/Winter 2021 collection showcase.
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By day, Han is the creative director of the high-end co-working operator The Work Project and a self-described “home cook” (she took up culinary studies at the feted Culinary Institute of America), and memories of her travel serve as a starting point for most of her dishes. She combines them with a love for antique, artisanal tableware to create warm and colourful dinners for close friends and family.
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Her kitchen, with its homely blue and white tiles and copper-accented stove, is reminiscent of what you may find in charming country homes in the French and Italian countryside. “Since childhood, my family has spent a lot of time in Europe, especially in France and Italy, so when I designed my kitchen, I wanted to create a space that could transport me back to the European countryside and its comforting beauty,” she says.
Meeting her in person for a recent shoot, it was evident that Han’s love for artisanal objects applies to her wardrobe too; here, she wears her own shirt dress, fashioned out of antique linen.
That Italian influence was evident during her shoot with FEMALE (her first with a fashion media here).”The table setting I’ve created for this shoot, meanwhile, is one that I did for my friends last summer as a way of sharing memories of a beautiful lunch I had in Capri, Italy,” says Han.
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“Telling stories is a passion of mine but, unfortunately, I did not inherit my father’s ‘gift of the gab’ – he was at the centre of attention and laughter in every room. What I did inherit comes from my mum and her mother: a habit of conveying stories and memories using other creative expressions like food, art, design and table settings, and it so happens that my kitchen is home to some of my fondest memories.”
“What I did inherit comes from my mum and her mother: a habit of conveying stories and memories using other creative expressions like food, art, design and table settings, and it so happens that my kitchen is home to some of my fondest memories.”Sunny Han
Key to Han’s charming dinners is her honed eye for mixing and matching eclectic accoutrements. “Just as life is a collage of memories, so too is my way of expressing those memories. I am delighted by mixing, matching and layering – whether it be with flavors, textures, colors or cultures,” she explains.
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“Vintage hand-painted Marie Daage plates, Parisian flea market silverware, paired with old school Japanese yoshoku-style hayashi rice with homemade demi-glace sauce reduced for 48 hours – when done with care and respect – you hopefully end up with an homage to the past and a celebration of your own memories.”
Below, we speak more with Han on what drives her cooking, her approach towards decorating and more.