Chris Glass Talks Hospitality: The Gift And The Art
Chris Glass on what it means to be a great host, and how to develop the necessary skills one needs in order to host events with intent and poise.
A longing to entertain, a calling to gather folks, a command of style, and a point of view - For Chris Glass, Membership director at Soho House, and founder of A Place To Meet (APTM), this is the dream.
Following the launch of Berlin based business, APTM (2017) - a shoppable apartment and event location, the art of congenial and sociable entertainment is now at an all time high for Mr. Glass. Largely inspired by the desire to have a space to entertain on his own terms, sharing things that he finds interesting; objects discovered during travels, art from friends, and more, Glass has now successfully carved out a wholesome hospitality brand that authentically showcases his inviting way of living .
We recently caught up with Mr. Glass to discuss his experiences and tactics within the industry, what it means to be a great host, and how to develop the necessary skills one needs in order to host events with intent and poise.
What Are Your Earlier Memories of Experiencing True Hospitality?
Growing up, my mother was the model hostess. Whether it was dinner or a garage sale, when she entertained it was always the ultimate invite. The food and the laughter overflowed and people stayed into the wee hours. Looking back, it definitely laid a path for my love of entertaining. I can recall standing in the window waiting for guests to arrive and the thrill of the doorbell chiming to announce their arrival. They’d come in, and my brother and I would sit on the stairs and watch my mother entertain with effortless elan – taking coats, explaining dishes, making jokes, tossing her head back laughing. It was like a film – completed by us nibbling on the chicken wings and deviled eggs we’d pillaged from the buffet earlier.
What Makes A Good Host?
Intention and attention. Have a clear plan for the gathering: do you want to connect people? or is it about a specific cuisine? Then think about how each moment in the evening connects to your intention. The best host is aware of everyone and everything in the room. It’s a superpower and God is in the details.
Is The Gift of Hospitality Something That You're Born With or Can It Be Learned?
Hospitality is something we can all learn, but I think hosting is an innate skill– a longing to entertain, a calling to gather folks, a command of style, a point of view.
How Important Is Self Care Before and After Hosting?
Self care is always important. What good am I to my guests if I’m frazzled? One of my rituals is to take a bath before my guests arrive – cleanse the prep process and put myself together. In the same way that an actor gets into costume, take the time to get dressed and get into the mindset of being the host for the hours to come. Important to note - a glass of bubbles is an integral aspect of self care.
How Do You Find Balance Between Everything Being Perfect and Leaving Room For “Divine Interventions” - those Moments That Can’t Be Planned But Make A Gathering Memorable or Special?
My philosophy is to plan everything down to the finite details, review it, trial it, review again. Then as soon as the first guest walks in, forget it all. You’re best when you’re on your toes and shooting from the hip.
For Those Who Love To Host There Are Always Those Moments, Instances or Task That Make Their Heart Sing. What Are Those Moments For You?
My favorite moment is lighting the candles. Once the table has been set (and I really SET a table), lighting the candles is this magical ritual that tells the universe, everything can start now.
What Are Three Characteristics That Should Be In The DNA of Every Host?
Organisation – again, God is in the details.
Grace – hosting is a privilege, be generous.
Curiosity – what else is out there, how can I make what is already here better?
How Do You Ensure That You Are Hosting As Chris Glass (who you really are) vs Who People Expect/Want You To Be. How Do You Combat Insecurities That Tell You That You Should Be “More” For The Sake Of Others?
There are no two Chris Glasses – there are layers. I used to have a character that I played – I had everything from a dress code to a fragrance that was his. It was a signal to myself and to the world that I was available and it became a sort of teething blanket – a way to buffer discomfort. A few years ago, I reached a point where that stopped working. I’d gotten so invested in the result and needed to relearn how to live in the process. Age has afforded me the ability to show up whole and create boundaries where and when I need to.
What’s Chris Glass’s Hospitality “Super Power”? That Thing You Do Best In A Room Full of People?
Eye contact. What we’re all after is a moment in time and space where someone sees us and connects with the essence of our being. And that begins quite simply with a look. From that you see when a glass is empty, when someone is uncomfortable in a conversation, when someone is not enjoying their meal, and more.
How Do You Maintain Enjoyment In Something You Love To Do In Your Personal Life When It’s Also Your Profession?
I take breaks in between. I use the time to research and recharge, readied for the next occasion. And I genuinely love what I do. When the moment comes that I stop loving, then I have to stop doing it.