Story and photos by Dorie Cox
Under sunny, 80-degree skies, a hot Friday was transformed into a “magical night” on board 14 yachts during an interior staff competition at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The annual Top Notch Tabletop Challenge highlights their best work in seven categories: an interior table setting, an outdoor table setting, most artistic napkin fold, creative centerpiece, stylish menu design, best beverage presentation, and tip of the day.
The interior crew of M/Y Excellence, a 150-foot Richmond, went all out with entries in every category. The judges awarded Chief Stew Bintu Omagbemi, 2nd Stew Zia Pypers and 3rd Stew Jennifer Walker with excellent marks in each one. They included elaborate hand-cut, folded menus and a tower of basil martinis flanked by carved pumpkins.
On the upper-deck of M/Y MAG III, a 145-foot Benetti, the sky was filled with dangling wooden crates overflowing with flowers. The autumn-themed live flowers that won the crew the Best Chic Outdoors award were the work of Chief Stew Nico Van Der Westhuizen and 2nd stews Chenelle Godfrey and Kerry Langschmidt, shown above.
A silver genie lantern atop a centerpiece pf rich purple, blue and red flowers was central to the winning interior table setting on board M/Y Andiamo. The 150-foot Palmer Johnson’s crew -– Chef Nadine Imfeld, Chief Stew Lucia Turner and 2nd Stew Ana Sanchez – won the Best Luxe Interior with their themed beverages and cookies alongside the table setting.
Here are all the winners of the 2019 Top Notch Tabletop Challenge:
Best Overall Design: M/Y Excellence, a 150-foot Richmond with Chief Stew Bintu Omagbemi, 2nd Stew Zia Pypers, and 3rd Stew Jennifer Walker.
Best Chic Outdoors: M/Y MAG III, a 145-foot Benetti, with Chief Stew Nico Van Der Westhuizen, 2nd stews Chenelle Godfrey and Kerry Langschmidt.
2nd Chic Outdoors: M/Y Hospitality, a 164-foot Westport, with Chief Stew Madison MacLeod, 2nd Stew Summer Meili, and Deckhand/Stew Colleen Meehan.
3rd Chic Outdoors: M/Y Claire, a 150-foot Trinity, with Chief Stew Kelly Olejniczak, 2nd Stew Lymne Dahl, and 3rd Stew Lexi Wilson.
Best Luxe Interior: M/Y Andiamo, a 150-foot Palmer Johnson, with Chef Nadine Imfeld, Chief Stew Lucia Turner, and 2nd Stew Ana Sanchez.
2nd Best Luxe Interior: M/Y My Maggie, a 112-foot Westport, with Chief Stew Monica Bolet.
3rd Best Luxe Interior: M/Y Three Sons, a 130-foot Westport, with Chief Stew Morgan Brawley and Stew Jessie Sahaydak.
Most Artistic Napkin Fold: M/Y My Qing, a 151-foot Choy Lee, with Stew/Masseuse Erin Wilks and 3rd Stew Alyssa Blake.
Top Creative Centerpiece: M/Y MAG II
Best Beverage Presentation: M/Y Coy Koi, an 83-foot Kuipers Doggersbank, with Chief Stew Kylie Pool and Stew/Deckhand Krystine Barnard.
Stylish Menu Design: M/Y Sotavento, a 164-foot Benetti with Chief Stew Mariel Correa, 2nd Stew Brooke Smith, and 3rd Stew Kate Freeman.
Tip of the Day: M/Y Sovereign, a 180-foot Newcastle, with Chief Stew Petronela Sivakova, 2nd Stew Danielle Hadlington, Stew Victoria Rowley, and Stew Mimi Trung.
Other competitors in the event included M/Y Rhino, a 154-foot Admiral, with Chief Stew Renee Reavley; M/Y Horizons II, a 145-foot NQEA, with Chief Stew Sharyline Bansi and 3rd Stew Janke Spongenberg; and M/Y Libert-y, a 90-foot Offshore with Chief Stew Alicia Cossentino.
A panel of former crew and interior experts judged the competition on creativity, aesthetics and overall design impact, and awards were given during a ceremony in the late afternoon during the show. The next edition of the competition will be at the Palm Beach International Boat Show in March.
Dorie Cox is editor of Triton Today. Comments are welcome below.