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Yacht stews shine with Top Notch Tabletop settings

The interior departments of more than dozen yachts showed off their talents for the Top Notch Tabletop competition during the show yesterday. And they didn’t disappoint. Tables dazzled and charmed, some with spectacular displays, others with clean, classic lines.

Case in point: M/Y Step One, the 180-foot Amels.

“This boat is very simple and elegant,” said Chief Stew Dani Thompson. “We don’t go over the top with any of our decorations.”

For their exterior display, they pulled together several of their favorite elements: a four-peaked napkin fold, white lilies, and silver starfish and shells.

“The light shines so beautifully off the china and silver out here,” Second Stew Chanel Marais said.

Chief Stew Dani Thompson, left, and Second Stew Chanel Marais of the 180-foot Amels M/Y Step One set two elegant tables for the Top Notch Tabletop competition, which was photographed yesterday for judging on Facebook, which begins after the show. PHOTO/LUCY REED

Chief Stew Dani Thompson, left, and Second Stew Chanel Marais of the 180-foot Amels M/Y Step One set two elegant tables for the Top Notch Tabletop competition, which was photographed yesterday for judging on Facebook, which begins after the show. PHOTO/LUCY REED

The interior team on Step One challenged themselves by setting two tables to compete in both the interior and exterior categories. The interior table picked up the purple accents of the salon and main deck sitting areas, again staying simple.

Chief Stew Margaret Hill of the 108-foot Broward M/Y Double Down decorated the yacht’s interior table with a spring theme, including fresh spring flowers, mossy placemats, and white ceramics.

“Table setting is my favorite part” of being a stew, Hill said. “It allows me to be creative, and it always comes out different. With the same things, I can decorate a table 30 different ways.”

The interior team on the 151-foot Hakvoort M/Y Allegria took their experience with long charters and trips to show off a table that uses simple pieces in new ways.

The interior team on the 151-foot Hakvoort M/Y Allegria, from left: Chief Stew Ania Broszkiewicz, second stew Hanna Swieczkowska, third stew Alice Steele with their entry in the Top Notch Table Top Challenge.

“Play with placemats,” Chief Stew Ania Broszkiewicz said. “Use two colors and layer them to add depth and a new look. When you have guests onboard for 30 days, it can be hard to come up with new settings. Just be brave.”

One of the biggest challenges for stews is to create intimate seating at a large table. Often, the favorite place to eat on a yacht is the aft deck, but that’s also where the large table is. Making an intimate setting for two, three or four people there can be tricky. Broszkiewicz does it by sectioning off a corner or end of the table with a runner or place mat, and skipping the centerpiece.

“We always want to wow our guests when they come to the table because that’s an important part of their trip,” she said. “How memorable it is to sit at a beautiful table and have a lovely meal with family and friends?”

The contest is judged by the public through social media. It is organized by Aqualuxe Outfitters in Boca Raton, with photos posted on its Facebook page, topnotchtabletop. Friends will have until April 10 to vote. Winners will be announced online and at the Triton Expo on April 15.

Yachts will be honored and stews will win prizes based on two table categories (luxe interior and chic outdoors) and two stew categories (menu design and tip of the day).

More than 6,200 votes came in for the 25 yachts in last year’s contest, which featured more than $5,000 in prizes.

“During the boatshow, stews don’t always have the opportunity to visit other vessels and check out other tabletop masterpieces,” said Cris Clifford, owner of Aqualuxe Outfitting. “That’s why we started this, as a portal for the girls to share their ideas and creations.”

Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of Triton Today. Comments: lucy@the-triton.com.

TIPS FROM THE INSIDE:

Step One Tip: Revive hydrangeas when they’ve started to wilt by turning them upside down, and soaking their petals in cool, clear, even icy water for three or four hours.

“Our hydrangeas started to go off yesterday, so I soaked them in water, “Thompson said. “We couldn’t believe how beautifully they came back. We called everyone over to see.”

“It is a miracle,” Marais said.

Double Down Tip: Use potted plants as centerpieces. They add a different look than cut flowers and can be a lot more affordable. Hill bought the three on her spring table – two tulips and a large pot of mini daffodils – for about $20.

 

Allegria Tip: Create an intimate seating at a large table by sectioning off a corner or end of the table with a runner or place mat. Skip the centerpiece. Instead, use a flower arrangement off to the side. Be subtle with it.

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