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Cooking

Curate Your Table, Buvette-Style

Jody Williams shows us how to entertain with French flair
Chef Jody Williams cleaning her decorative finds at NYC's Buvette
Vintage finds and sleek new products from Jody Williams, the chef-owner of Buvette in NYC and Paris

Got a rickety goat cart lying around?

If so, Jody Williams wants to talk to you.

"I'm four years into my search for that cart," Williams says, elbows resting on a grooved old farm table at Buvette, her twee and terrific Francophilic diminutive bistro in NYC's West Village.

"I enjoy collecting these kinds of things. It's a quest."

For many of her fans, a trip to Buvette inspires a personal quest: to recreate both her dead-on take on honest French classics and her eclectic, perfectly curated style in our own homes.

Williams' new book, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food ($30), goes on sale today, answering the prayers of those smitten with her oeufs brouillés (which she scrambles using the steamer wand of an espresso maker) and oozy croque madames.

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Williams took a moment out of her busy schedule (she recently opened a Buvette outpost in Paris, coals-to-Newcastle style) to talk to us about how to get the style that goes with her food. 

"I hate new stuff," says Williams. She frequents flea markets, junkyards and auction houses to find stuff with "a sense of history."

"That's what I love: a sense of place and nostalgia in things, in food, in recipes."

Outfit yourself like a chef by checking out Williams' picks here (see the slideshow), from delicate coupes from Food52 to simple but stylish beechwood bowls from Fante's.

And, if you stumble across a goat cart, you know who to call.

  • "The menu is French and the name is French," Williams says of the NYC location of Buvette. "But everything in here is Americana." Like these country-style plates from Fishs Eddy's vintage dinnerware line (Vintage Mayfield, $19 (top register, bottom plate); Jackson China, $11 (top register, top plate), which are simple, sturdy and classic. French-made Pillivuyt condiment kettles ($52 for four) inject more European flair.

  • You can never have too many jars--or pewter salt and pepper grinders. These large tapered canning jars ($19 each) from one of Williams' favorite NYC shops (and a TT fave as well), Kaufmann Mercantile, can store beans, rice, flour and more. These hefty Italian salt and pepper grinders from La Terrine add drama to the table.

  • Williams gets a kick out of digging through Fante's online wares, finding little gems like these spice tins ($2.50 to $4.50) and beechwood bowls ($18 to $150). Sleek, stylish flatware from Central France and among the great curated collection of housewares at Brook Farm General Store is Williams' go-to.

  • Williams has a knack for piecing together cheap market finds and slightly higher-end wares to set one pretty table. This Muji bucket ($16) add rusticity, while the recycled glass carafe ($40) and vintage Champagne coupes ($28 for two) bring the party.

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Buvette 42 Grove St. New York NY 10014 212-255-3590 Buvette 28 Rue Henry Monnier 75009 Paris, France 75009 331-4463-4171
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