Jim & Kelie Henkens: The Morning After
The Tastemakers' Table

Jim & Kelie Henkens: The Morning After

December 31, 2023
Photography & Styling: Jim & Kelie Henkens

Photographer Jim Henkens and his wife, interior designer Kelie Henkens, are uber-hosts that make friends easily and share their gift for hospitality at their new home in Falls Village, Connecticut. They're neighbors and new friends, and I’ll let them tell their story:

We all love the way the table looks when it’s perfectly set: the napkins are folded, silver is polished, the coupe awaits the first splash of champagne. But the best tables, in our opinion, are the tables after the guests have left and the candles have burned down. The best tables are a memory of the night before - the kind that maybe you didn’t get a real glimpse of until walking past in the early light of the morning after, on your way to the kitchen for coffee.

We believe the heart of a great party is, of course, the people gathered around the table—but the champagne stained tablecloth, oyster shells and citrus rinds, crumbs from the bread crust and devoured caviar, are what remains. The beautiful serving dish, carefully chosen for each course, standing firm against the debris. These pieces from DBO Home are the perfect backdrop to the great messiness of the very best dinner parties. This photo series featuring The Morning After is a collection of memories from the night before...

When it comes to hosting the ultimate dinner party, what’s your secret ingredient for turning a gathering into a flavor-packed, unforgettable soiree?

We love to plan a menu and we'll obsess over the food for weeks in advance of a special dinner party. We'll write down entire menus and then re-write it, tweaking it again, and again. We love to make homemade pasta, and cook from the farmers market haul in the spring & summer months, or do a full French themed dinner with butter we may have smuggled into the US from France (shhh) but I would say the real secret ingredient is always the people, that great mix of new and old friends toasting each other across the table.

What’s your favorite dish to share with friends? What makes it the star of the show?

When we have a crowd coming, we absolutely love to serve a big, steaming pot of the most delicious bouillabaisse! This is an incredible thing to serve a group with diverse taste - everyone can find something delicious they love. The broth, full of tomatoes and saffron, maybe it's the scallops, or maybe it's the juicy shrimp that you crave - there is truly something for everyone to love. My personal favorite is the homemade crusty bread we always serve alongside, soaked in garlic butter and dipped in broth.

Since swapping the Pacific Northwest for the charming vibes of Falls Village, CT, have you noticed a change in your entertaining style?  What local influences and flavors have made their way into your culinary playbook?

Since moving to beautiful Litchfield County, we have been honestly blown away by the quality of the food grown here. The farm markets that feature locally raised veggies, mushrooms, fruits, dairy, and the incredible flowers have been such a fun surprise for us. Even the small local grocers are stocked with produce sourced from the local farms! A revelation. We've been finding endless inspiration for cooking new dishes because the local harvest is so diverse and lush. We always want to cook with the freshest ingredients, and living in the middle of the most gorgeous landscape has made that possible in ways we didn't imagine when we moved here. 

Kelie, the world of wines can be as diverse as a pantry full of spices.  As the resident wine expert, what affordable bottles would you recommend? And when you’re ready to splurge, what are the top-shelf picks that deserve a pace at the table?

We love a great, affordable French Burgundy for an easy go-to bottle at the table. A favorite of ours lately is the Louis Latour Bourgogne Gamay 2020. This is a delicious wine, with wide appeal and as with all burgundy, is meant to be enjoyed with FOOD! If you're in the mood to splurge, again a French Burgundy is the way to go. There are really so many great options (too many!), but a favorite is the lovely Hospices de Beaune Cuvee Forneret Savigny Les Beaune 1st Cru 2019.

Beyond the glitz of champagne and the allure of caviar, Kelie paint us a picture of your laid-back, yet undeniably chic, approach to entertaining. What are your style tips for setting the mood?

We always want our guests to feel immediately welcome in our home. I love to light a million small candles all over our home which creates a moody vibe right from the start! By the time our guests arrive, we've already been cooking for most of the day so inevitably our house is filled with the aromas of delicious food. In the colder months, we always have a fire going strong in the living and sitting rooms, and we encourage everyone to get comfy and squeeze in on the mohair sofa next to our sweet dog, Chloe. We take advantage of our new Negroni bar and have Negroni's at the ready - along with a full bar and champagne, of course! At the table, I like to use pressed antique linen napkins with our collection of antique silver that we've collected in Europe over the past years. We have a vast collection of antique plates we love to mix in with newer, modern pieces from DBO Home that are the perfect pairing - modern meets antique, which makes both shine in their uniqueness. 

Speaking of caviar, how did you come to find Pointy Snout?

I (Jim) was asked to photograph the owners of Pointy Snout - Alexandra and Michael - for Litchfield Magazine in the fall of 2022. Since then, we've been lucky enough to host them in our home for dinner, and be guests in their lovely home in Salisbury for a very special birthday celebration. Alexandra and Michael have been incredibly welcoming and kind in sharing their knowledge about caviar, and life! 

Jim and Kelie, your house restoration has been a beautiful journey.  Dish on the design of your kitchen for us, detailing how it combines style and functionality.

Our kitchen was designed to fully embrace our friends being in the kitchen & chatting with us while we cook. This kitchen is the center of our home, and we love to share it with everyone who comes to visit! We were very thoughtful about maximizing storage, while also having a place for our beautiful dishware collection to be on display. We made the decision during our renovation to remove a back servant's staircase, which allowed us to build a large, full height dish cabinet that we are obsessed with. While we made sure to have plenty of space for friends to mingle around while we cook, the kitchen is also removed slightly from the living room and dining room, so it feels a bit more formal. We love to go into the dining room and leave the kitchen behind once it's time to sit down and enjoy a meal. 


Serves 4


32 oz. fish stock, preferably home made
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon crushed red Calabrian chili paste
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch saffron threads
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fennel fronds, roughly torn
2 pounds steamer clams
1 pound rockfish or other firm white fish fillets
1 pound wild prawns, shelled and deveined
4 oz. crab meat
4 slices good rustic sourdough bread brushed with olive oil and broiled
salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil and add onion, fennel and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add wine and stir. Add tomatoes and fish stock and simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Add saffron, orange zest and chili paste.
  2. Turn heat to low and gently poach fish fillets in pot for 10 minutes then remove and
    set aside on a plate.
  3. Turn heat up to medium and add clams to pot and cook until they start to open then add prawns and cook for another three minutes then add crab and turn heat off.
  4. To serve, divide fish, shellfish and broth equally among 4 soup bowls. Garnish with parsley and fennel fronds and salt and pepper. Place a piece of bread on each bowl and serve immediately while hot.

Jim Henkens

Jim Henkens is an award winning food and lifestyle photographer, well known amongst his clients and friends as an excellent cook, host, and general merry maker of sorts. When not shooting the latest cookbook or advertising campaign for his wide array of clients, he can be found in the kitchen baking huge loaves of incredible sourdough bread and hand rolling fresh pasta. Jim’s photography studio and home are in the tiny hamlet of Falls Village, CT, where he lives with his wife Kelie and their dog, Chloe.

jimhenkens.com | @jimhenkens

Kelie Henkens

Kelie Henkens is an interior designer, dinner party host, and wine enthusiast. In 2006, she opened a well known home furnishings shop in Seattle (Maison Luxe) and she’s currently developing a new retail shop in the heart of Falls Village, where she lives with her husband, photographer Jim Henkens, and their 7 year old dog Chloe. Kelie and Jim have been lovingly restoring the antique home they bought in Falls Village for the past 1.5 years, hosting dinner parties amongst the renovations with their most intrepid friends.

maisonluxe.net | @maisonluxe

Pointy Snout

Pointy Snout was founded and is run by Alexandra Du Cane and Michael Kline, avid travelers and citizens of the world, who believe in preserving the great gifts that nature offers us so generously. As such, Pointy Snout is sourced from only the most responsible sturgeon farms that take extreme care to raise sturgeon in environments that mimic their natural habitats. Sturgeon farming is the only way to protect the feeble population of wild sturgeon who were overfished to the point of near extinction. Pointy Snout was founded in 2011 on the principle that wild sturgeon must be protected and farming sturgeon must be done right. This core tenet allows us all to enjoy the pleasure of caviar more completely.

pointysnout.com | @pointysnout