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As the sun sets later and the days grow warmer, it’s the perfect time to dive into the world of summer entertaining. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Melissa Norton, an expert in creating unforgettable dining experiences and a lover of all things summer. Join us as she opens up about her ideal day in her coastal neighborhood, the joys of decorating her dining room, and her best advice for culinary novices looking to gain confidence in the kitchen.

melissa norton summer traditions

Question 01

What is your favorite summertime tradition?

Sunset BBQs on the beach, Ferragosto in Calabria, Italy, and backyard dinner parties in my family’s backyard in Laguna Beach, CA

Question 02

Tell us a bit about your neighborhood/city – what does an ideal day look like for you?

Wake up and make a moka pot coffee, go for a walk by the water with a friend, pilates with my sister, eat croissants with my nephews, and cook a fun dinner for my family!

Question 03

What is your favorite part of your home? How do you make your house feel like a home?

Right now I’m really into my dining room. I love playing with my bar cart and dressing it up with flowers, mini vases,  and playing with the artwork hanging above it. There’s something really intimate and celebratory about a dining room. I love playing with my collected silver and setting the table based on each season.

summer entertaining with melissa norton

Question 04

As a professional, what are your tips for a culinary novice for feeling confident in the kitchen?

Don’t be afraid to mess up and make mistakes. That’s how we learn! Instead of getting discouraged, take notes on what you think went wrong and turn the mistake into curiosity and try again!

Question 05

What is your favorite Casa Picosa flavor? How will you be cooking with it this summer? If you’re open to sharing an easy recipe we would love that!

I love spice! Has Me Sweatin’ is my favorite! Here’s one of my favorite recipes with it:

Spot Prawns with Has Me Sweatin Sauce

You can get spot prawns in the summertime at your local fisherman’s shop or at the seafood booth at your farmers market!


  • 1 lb spot prawns, shelled, cleaned and deveined
  • ½ cup butter room temp
  • 2 tbsp Casa Picosa Has Me Sweatin hot sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • Flake salt and lemon juice to taste


  1. Preheat your grill to medium high
  2. In a bowl whisk the butter, hot sauce, garlic, and flake salt and lemon juice to taste
  3. Add your prawns to the grill and cook on one side for 1 min basting the whole time
  4. Flip and baste for another minute
  5. Remove from grill when cooked and tent with foil
  6. Serve with side of butter sauce and parsley
melissa norton pasta

Question 06

What are five things from the Casa de Suna shop that you’d love to add to your tablescape this season?

First is the Sabri Sabri Bea Placemat, featuring scalloped edges that transform your table into a dreamy scene. The Il Buco Vita Cutting Board would make food prep both pleasurable and chic. I also love the Ferm Living Quartz Petra Mortar. It’s a must for true flavor enthusiasts, perfect for grinding herbs and spices. The Il Buco Vita Winged Goddess Decanter doubles as a statement piece and functional item, ideal for wine or fresh flowers. Finally, the Sophie Lou Jacobsen Piano Cocktail Glasses bring a playful yet sophisticated touch to your gatherings with their mismatched but complementary design.

Question 07

What is inspiring you these days? An ingredient, an artist, a destination, something you’ve recently learned, anything…

I feel very inspired lately by Japan and Japanese cuisine! I have the book “Japan: The Cookbook” and have been flipping through that for inspiration! Also as soon as summer rolls around tomatoes always inspire me. I get so excited to make Panzanella in the summertime!

melissa norton casa picosa

Question 08

What’s your go-to summer dish that always impresses your guests?

I love simple recipes for summertime. Ingredients are so fresh in the summer, it’s easy to do very little to impress. Lately I’ve been taking whole peaches, pitting them, peeling them and poaching them in sweet wine and bay leaves. I’ll let them dry and then fill them like little cups with cream. I’ve been calling it “peaches and cream”, they’re divine, even with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side, a sprinkle of flake salt, and a drizzle of honey!

Question 09

Which book, movie, or song best encapsulates the spirit of summer for you?

I love the movie Summertime with Katherine Hepburn.

melissa norton summer entertaining

Question 10

Favorite flowers for a tablescape?

For summer, dahlias, cosmos, hydrangeas, peonies, greenery/vines, snapdragons, foxgloves, and flowering herbs!

If you missed our previous interview with the equally inspiring Erika Veurink, be sure to check it out. Stay tuned for more exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at how these incredible women make everyday moments special.

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