Dick Page’s name is synonymous with the minimalist-chic ’90s. The British-born makeup artist’s signature dewy skin, color-washed lips, and Vaseline-slicked lids made backstage legends out of Kate Moss and Christy Turlington at Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein. “It feels alive,” he says of the human touch that is visible in all of his creative pursuits—from the makeup chair to the kitchen.
For the uninitiated, Page’s Instagram (@dickpageface) has become a destination not just for highlights from Proenza Schouler’s fall show but for mouthwatering images of buttered lamb and saute?ed skate wings. Like an eye-defining stroke of smudged charcoal liner, the meals themselves appear unencumbered by any kind of prescribed technique, and the gatherings that often accompany them are a Who’s Who of industry friends and collaborators that descend upon the SoHo loft Page shares with his husband and their two dogs.
“So what are you making tonight, Mr. Page?” asks the designer Maria Cornejo, a regular chez Page, on a recent summer evening. Page is prepping plump pieces of cod, which he will roast and top with fresh currants. There’s also a picture-worthy display of pressure-cooked golden beets lightly dressed with date molasses, preserved lemon, and spices, as well as a ceramic bowl filled with a cucumber misozuke, a traditional Japanese recipe of pickled vegetables in a miso-and-mirin paste. “What do I do with that?” the stylist Paul Cavaco asks as three whole garlic bulbs poached in olive oil and a sprig of bay leaves materialize on the table.
“Squeeze out a clove and put it on the bread,” Page explains, passing around mini forks, a few of which he stole from a handful of trips on the supersonic Concorde jet, the only way to travel from New York to Paris in fashion’s golden age.
Page has been culling inspiration from a variety of places since he started cooking years ago—from his childhood, partly spent outside Bristol, and his 20 years traveling to Tokyo while working for Shiseido, to cookbooks ranging from Fergus Henderson’s The Complete Nose to Tail to Paula Wolfert’s well-loved Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco. “Dick’s is the only Instagram I like for food pictures,” admits Cavaco as dinner conversation touches on upcoming travel plans and the cultural exodus from New York. Page’s success on the social-media platform is as much the result of a perceptible passion, says the hairstylist Serge Normant, as the seeming ease that goes into everything he does. “The makeup is done in two seconds,” Normant says, “and it looks amazing. It’s the same thing with the food.”
“I like to see the edges of things,” Page says humbly. As for whether he has inspired anyone at the table to put on an apron, Cornejo laughs. “Are you kidding? You just hope to be invited again.”
Below, Page’s “hardly-a-recipe-at-all” for a main dish and Gibbs’ guide for dessert:
Dick Page’s Fish with Red Currants
Take some cod loin, or other firm white fish like hake or pollock, and cut it into serving size pieces. Sprinkle the pieces liberally all over with sea salt and set aside for 10 minutes, then rinse them very well in cold water and pat them dry.