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I recently had the privilege of assisting as a guest and sponsor with Aqualuxe Outfitting’s Top Notch Tabletop Challenge 2016 at the Palm Beach Boat Show. With four categories and 21 stews participating, the event is not a “competition” as such. It is not judged or critiqued. Instead, it is a Facebook event where the number of likes determines the winner. The categories were:
The main reason for this event is to inspire and be inspired. Some stews don’t participate because they fear they won’t measure up to the competition. Maybe their boat doesn’t have much “stuff” and there is no budget to go out and buy anything new. Keep in mind that some of the best ideas are the simplest, and this is the perfect opportunity to tap into your creativity by finding new ways to re-purpose your decorations. It’s all about sharing, getting new ideas, and commenting on others’ designs.
If you have not already done so, check them out on Facebook. This is a real opportunity to see what designs are being created. Sponsorship is growing every year, and the impact that events like this have on encouraging professionalism for stews is commendable.
Table top design is frequently on a stew’s mind, and many people are surprised to learn how elaborate and amazing they are. When guests are onboard, food is in focus and meal planning is a large part of the day. Guests anticipate the table décor as much as the food. Requirements vary from boat to boat, but generally speaking, the evening meal is usually the most elaborate. Ranging from simple to elaborate, the table décor can set the mood for the meal.
There are rules about table setting, but many times there is room for flexibility. Imagination and variety can add to the enjoyment of the food. Table cloths, placemats, and table runners define each place setting and are the foundation of the design. Accessories add special touches and provide color and harmony to the theme. Napkin rings, candles and other colorful items add variety and dress up the table.
Here are some basic rules of table setting:
There are many ways to set a table, and many styles of service to take into consideration when planning. Stews are acting as designers each time they set the table, by choosing and arranging elements according to a plan for beauty and order. Whether it is a special occasion, a holiday, a theme dinner or a simply reflection of the natural beauty of the surroundings, setting a table is an event and an accomplishment. Good job, Stews!!!
Alene Keenan is lead instructor of yacht interior courses at Maritime Professional Training in Ft. Lauderdale. She shares her experience from more than 20 years as a stew in her book, “The Yacht Guru’s Bible: The Service Manual for Every Yacht”, available at createspace.com/5377000 and on amazon.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.