Chief stew/cook Paula Norwood Satchell has a lot of great ideas to entertain guests onboard M/Y Black and Gold. No matter what time of year, she can create a celebration around a table setting, whether the Chinese New Year or Day of the Dead.
“It is the time I get to use my creativity,” Satchell said.
She and the interior staff from eight other boats had an opportunity to show their skills during the Top Notch Tabletops event at the Yachts Miami Beach show yesterday (Feb. 13) on the docks at Collins Ave.
The event is less a competition than an opportunity for interior staff to get well deserved exposure and recognition, said event organizer Cris Clifford of Aqualuxe Outfitting.
Satchell used silver and gold sea theme with conch shell candles, large starfish and a mix of smaller shells to bring the feel of the outside environment into the dining room. “The sea has the feel of being a free spirit, with no ties.”
She said decorating and creating memories are her favorite part of the job.
“Otherwise the job feels repetitive, just beds and heads,” Satchell said as she instinctively pick a small bit of lint from a perfectly folded linen. She said that subconscious ability to notice small details is natural to the job.
“This is the most exciting aspect and it makes my job fun,” Satchell said, adjusting a starfish.
“The sea has the feel of being a free spirit, with no ties.”
Stews are also required to adjust and make do with what they have to work with, she said. Although the flowers in the centerpiece were the show brokerage’s requirement, she worked around them to create her theme.
Chief stew Anna Sullivan of M/Y Dream Weaver set her lunchtime table setting on the sundeck.
“It makes sense to bring the beautiful scenery to the table,” Sullivan said of her seascape setting. “It puts the beach here for the guests and the yacht.”
“I love doing all of this, different napkin folds and such, I try to “wow” them,” she said of the guests.
Sullivan said she often teaches interested guests in napkin folding and other aspects of her job.
“I do a cocktail class with the guests, they love it,” she said.
Chief stew Susan Dolan of M/Y Katya likes to use a napkin fold with impact and has even made a .pdf document to share with other stews.
Her top tip is “when in doubt, make it sparkle.”
A few of the other participants were motoryachts Incognito, Livernano, Nita K, Katya, Redemption and Amitie.
Dorie Cox is associate editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome at email@example.com.