FOOD CHANNELERS

Byline: Sharon Edelson

NEW YORK — On a recent afternoon, a blue, plastic-covered, corrugated cardboard box arrived on a reporter’s desk just in time for lunch. Filled with salads, soups, grains and infusions, and tied up in an orange ribbon, it was the work of Cafiero Lussier, a young catering firm with an enviable list of fashion, Hollywood and society clients.
The food was accompanied by a two-page text about the inspiration for the recipes. The Moroccan tomato soup, for example, came from Halcyone Hurst, a “Provincetown crazy lady [who] had made this soup with Paul Bowles, back in the days when she was traveling,” the story read.
Each week, Cafiero Lussier delivers several dozen meal boxes — the price of the service is $200 — to a select group of clients including Blair Brown, Christy Turlington and John Bartlett. Menus are faxed in advance, and customers receive a delivery on Tuesday containing enough main courses, vegetables, grains, salads and infusions such as rosehip-sorrel to keep two people happily nourished for a week.
“I have to say, you feel really good eating their food,” says Brown, who is currently on Broadway in the British import “Copenhagen.”
Bartlett, who finds inspiration in the color of Cafiero Lussier’s soups, says, “I was spending so much money on takeout. Now every Tuesday night, all this great food comes.”
Thom Lussier, the creative force behind the company, graduated from Yale University with a master’s degree in fine arts. He’d planned a career as a photographer until cooking — the sideline that supported him through college — became an overriding passion.
Lussier spins elaborate culinary fantasies — such as a wedding where the bride’s loft was decorated with 375,000 silk flowers, and guests were presented with black lacquer umbrellas and glasses of lavender-fennel tea with flowers suspended in the ice cubes — while his partner, David Cafiero, wears the toque.
One of Lussier’s first jobs as a professional caterer was cooking a dinner at the home of Ashton Hawkins, where Brooke Astor was among the guests. The piece de resistance was dessert: Chocolate Bavarian pyramids with long shadows cast by cocoa sand and ankhs drawn with blackberry sauce.
“When we brought out the desert, the room went silent,” Lussier recalls. “Then, everybody clapped.”
After the Hawkins event, there were more dinners at uptown apartments.
“After a while, it became a process of dealing with other people’s spaces, which was a drag,” Lussier says. At about the same time, Cafiero was growing tired of working as a chef on private yachts. Their paths crossed and the idea for Cafiero Lussier was born.