Mindy Kaling would only have one guest at her dream dinner
welcome to Dream dinner, where we ask notable people to describe it: the dinner of their dreams.
Mindy Kaling’s work is perhaps one of the few to captivate several generations in the same household. Teens and their parents made Office an eternal favorite. And entire families discover Kaling’s Netflix show I have never, a comedy-drama about friendships, family and teenage angst in its funniest and awkward way (season two airs July 15). Which means most of us would like Kaling to attend our dinners, but who would she invite to hers? We asked him to share.
It’s the dinner of your dreams and you can invite three people, living or deceased, fictional or historical. Who are you inviting?
It would be Mike Nichols and no one else because I don’t want to have to share it with anyone. As a director, Nichols is truly inspiring. I was reading the biography that Mark Harris wrote about him. His career spans so many genres. He did The Graduate, which is obviously a dramatic comedy. But he also did theater and came to improvise in Chicago. He had a really interesting and amazing life.
If you had to invite a character from I have never and one of Office, who receives the invitation?
I would bring Devi, the star of I have never, although it is so few that I might regret this decision. But I think she would be the most fun because I would love to learn how teenagers talk and maybe she could show me how to do TikTok. Of Office it would probably be Oscar. When I was writing for Office, I wrote an episode that included The Finer Things Club. Oscar was a founding member and so cute.
Is dinner at your place? A restaurant?
I would be stressed to have it at home. I would therefore take the opportunity to travel since I haven’t been anywhere in a year and a half. And I would host it at Cinnamon Club in London, which is an amazing looking Indian restaurant designed to look like a giant library.
What are you asking the chef to do?
A classic Ethiopian feast, with injera, beef tibs and doro wat, and something Korean like kimchi sundubu jjigae, a tofu stew. These dishes are iconic. People might not like to mix Korean and Ethiopian cuisine, but these are my two favorite cuisines. I could eat them every day.
I understand that you like to cook. Suppose a friend announces that she is in town; what are you doing ?
Probably my mom’s chicken curry, which looks like Bengali coconut chicken curry, or Bengali coconut shrimp curry.
Are you setting a pretty table?
I am obsessed with the dishes. It is one of my expensive and completely unnecessary habits. Right now I’m obsessed with Tory Burch’s collaboration with Dodie Thayer – lettuce stoneware is so beautiful.
As a female comedy icon, who would you rather have dinner with, Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett?
I’d rather talk to Queen Latifah. She is so funny; she is a giant movie star; she was the star of her own sitcom, Living Single; and now she’s the star of an action drama. She’s nominated for an Oscar. She sings and she can rap. For me, and for a lot of women who look like me, we look at Queen Latifah and think, Wow, she really broke new ground. This woman can do anything.