The family would welcome their friends for a day of horseback riding followed by a sumptuous meal during which food and wine were always flowing. Victoria realized early on that “when people come to your house they are not interested in how many onions went into the soup, they really just want to be in your home, and they want you to make them feel welcome. That is the sort of welcoming attitude I try to convey in everything I do now.”
After graduating from boarding school, known then as Sacred Heart in Woldingham, Surrey in England and returning home to Madrid, Victoria came to the realization that college was not the right fit for her. Instead, she headed towards New York City for what she thought would be a month’s stay. However, the moment she set foot in the city she succumbed to its charms. For 15 years she called New York home, until relocating with her husband and sons to Palm Beach, Florida where the siren call of her true destiny lay in wait.
With the move came entertaining. “In Palm Beach, you entertain a lot,” she explains. “It’s what you do. You invite people to come over to have lunch or dinner by the pool.” Suddenly everybody was asking me “who is your caterer?” because they found the food so delicious, which prompted her to think, “All of these amazing people are asking me about my caterer; maybe there is something here to explore!”
She began writing articles on the subject of her entertaining philosophy and presented them to the Palm Beach Daily News. The newspaper loved her writing so much they created a column for her. After a few years, she began submitting articles to national magazines. They quickly snapped up her unique brand of entertaining and lifestyle tips, as Victoria tells it, “usually accomplished with two kids under each arm.” Her articles appeared in national publications such as Cottages and Gardens, Verandah, Food and Wine, and Town & Country, to name just a few.
In little time Victoria was no longer just writing for publications; she also had her television program on the local PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) station, and appeared in morning television shows, leading into her books. Her first, Delicious, was followed by Delicious Flavors and most recently, Palm Beach Entertaining, with others in the workings.
One of Victoria‘s sons had been diagnosed with dyslexia and unable to find a suitable school for him in Florida; the family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut where they had located one that filled their needs. She didn’t know anyone in Greenwich but parents and teachers at the schools her sons attended were familiar with her books and TV appearances. With that precious knowledge at hand, they asked her if she could create something for one of the country fairs. “If I have to make brownies, I am going to have to commit suicide,” she says with profound merriment. Instead of the requisite brownies, she made a variety of sauces and chutneys only thinking at the time that “it would be fun to do something a little different.” Amory was stunned when the 200 jars she brought for the fair were sold out in 10 minutes.
The brand Victoria Amory was launched in 2014, with a collection of specialty mayonnaise, mustards, and pepper sauces, sustainably produced and with all natural ingredients (Kosher and Non-GMO certification in the works), precisely the way she would make them at home for her family and friends. The condiments and sauces are “designed to elevate your everyday foods, making that sandwich so much better or that burger extra delicious.” Amory’s meteoric rise in the specialty food industry is unprecedented with a presence in 300 stores including Harrods’s in London and Dean and Deluca in New York City. In the next couple of months, Amory will be expanding her product line with “flatbread crisps”, “spicy pink mayonnaise” and an “apple brandy mustard”. Also positioned shortly in the works is her personal line of serving wear, designed to make the hostess job seem even more effortless. The desire to share with others is at the center of all of Amory’s pursuits. As Victoria likes to say, “If you’re not having fun, why do it?”
What to expect when you’re a guest in Victoria’s home for dinner? “My only hope is that my guests come in a good mood ready to laugh a lot, hopefully, to enjoy excellent food—and lots of wine—and a comforting, relaxing environment where they can have a good time.” Back to her philosophy: Easy, Effortless, and Elegant. For Victoria Amory, that’s what it’s all about. ■