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Tag: Table Setting

Elevate Your New Year’s Party with a Crowd-Pleasing Grazing Table

Elevate Your New Year’s Party with a Crowd-Pleasing Grazing Table

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and the last holiday party. What a great time of the year. The best New Year’s Eve celebration is perfect for a grazing table with little work. This will be a great way to let the chef enjoy the evening events too. Kristen Seymour presents a step-by-step guide to the perfect party.

If you want the food at your holiday party or corporate event to be opulent and impressive—but still inviting—a grazing table just might be the answer to your culinary conundrum. And as a bonus, you probably won’t even have to cook.

This hot trend in entertaining isn’t exactly new. In medieval times, palace feasts often featured tables piled high with layers of food for guests to sample at their leisure. These days, grazing tables are more likely to feature local cheeses than, say, roasted peacock. But a year or two ago, a modern take on the grazing table began to take hold in Australia and New Zealand. Now it’s taking the U.S. by storm.

What, exactly, is a grazing table?

Typically, it’s a table (although it can also be a platter, a counter, a board, or any large, flat surface) with lots of visually appealing and accessible food. Most items aren’t contained within bowls or baskets but are instead arranged in piles that lavishly spill into each other. It’s artfully disheveled. Decadent, but relaxed. It’s a really flexible concept that can work for a wide variety of events, numbers of guests, locations, themes, and budgets. In a work setting, for instance, a grazing table is a great way to incorporate office snacks you already have on hand without the need to bring in or buy a ton of serveware and utensils.

Grazing Table New Year's Menu
New Year’s Grazing Table Menu

And if all that isn’t enough, one of the best aspects of a grazing table is the low maintenance set up, which allows the host to spend time with their guests. After all, parties are much more fun to throw when you actually get to join them. Interested in giving a grazing table a go? Here’s how to build your own for your next office party or gathering at home.

Planning for Your Party

The first decision to make is the shape and size of the table. Will it be large enough to hold everything you want to include? According to New Zealand caterer Sarah Jones, who was at the forefront of this trend, you can expect a table that’s one square meter (which is about three feet by three feet) to fully feed around 15 people and allow around 30 to graze. However, you can use layers to fit more food or add decorative elements to take up more surface area if the table you have is too large.

And don’t forget about location. Your grazing table should be situated in a way that makes it easy for multiple guests to access it at once, encouraging mingling while snacking. But you don’t want it to be in the way of traffic (or dancing!). If you’ll have small children or pets at the party, you might also want to use an elevated surface to keep snacks away from little hands and curious noses.

Now, onto the food!

With a grazing table, you don’t want to choose food only for its tastiness, although, that’s an important factor. You should also think about the aesthetics. Brightly colored fruit and veggies, breads and crackers with different textures and shapes, meat slices that can be folded artfully, and vibrant dips and sauces all add to the visual appeal of the table.

Be sure to pick up a variety of each type of food. For instance, when it comes to cheese, consider a soft Brie, a hard and nutty Manchego, and a sharp Cheddar—and then think about what would pair well with each type. This planning isn’t just for your shopping list, but also for your layout because you will want to make it easy for your guests to distinguish which cracker and spread complements the cheese they just sliced.

How To Create A Grazing Table New Year's
New Year’s Grazing Table Creation

And remember, this can be whatever you want it to be, so although the cheese, charcuterie, and crudités route is a common one, you can branch out in any way you’d like. Make big, brightly hued exotic fruits the main feature, layer your table with cakes and candies, or pick a sampling of easy-to-eat snacks from your favorite tapas restaurant. Living a healthy life? You can keep it vegan, paleo, or sugar-free, no problem. As long as you fill the space with food your guests can easily enjoy, the sky is the limit.

Creating Your Grazing Table

While it may look haphazard, a well-curated grazing table is anything but. It’s vital that you leave yourself plenty of time for the set-up process alone. Rushing to add the finishing touches as your guests arrive is no way to enhance that effortlessly chic atmosphere that a grazing table provides.

Step 1: Write out a list of all the foods you want to put out

You’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget what you’ve purchased until the party is over. A list will help you in step two. Consider whether you’ll be buying and preparing each item, or if you’ll go the corporate catering route instead.

Step 2: Plot your table

Time to decide what platters and other surfaces to put your food on. In keeping with the casually decadent feel, leave your linen tablecloth in the closet and, instead, stick with the surface of a nice, clean table, or cover it with kraft or butcher-block paper.

You can use baskets and cutting boards to organize more unruly foods, and of course, you’ll need bowls for dips or spreads. Adding a big, beautiful bowl of punch is a great way to take up space and add a pop of color, and now is the time to decide where any larger containers will go. That said, resist the urge to separate everything too precisely. You’re going for organized chaos, so just this once go ahead and let the grapes mingle with the prosciutto.

If you opt to decorate with non-food items, this is also a good opportunity to set out larger embellishments. Get creative with greenery and flowers, fresh herbs, whole fruits and veggies, unscented candles, framed art or signs, vases—anything that works with your theme and adds a bit of visual interest will increase the appeal of your grazing table.

Step 3: Use layers to create height

You can use cake stands, wine boxes, or just about anything else you have handy to add dimension to your table, but don’t use everything you have. Just a couple elements should do the trick. Place larger, more eye-catching foods—such as large cheese wheels or a pile of big brownies—on raised surfaces, and spread them out around your table. If you have large amounts of one item, such as salami slices, arrange them in two or three places around the table to break things up.

Step 4: Fill it in

Add your remaining foods to the empty spaces, making a point to separate similar items from one another. Place foods people may want to pair in close proximity (you could surround a wheel of Brie with pear slices, a crusty baguette, and a jar of fig jam, for example). The ideal grazing table will encourage people to move from one end to the other, sampling bits and bites from all areas.

Once you add your main foods, fill in the remaining spaces with handfuls of nuts, dried fruit, berries, pieces of dark chocolate, or any other small foods you’d like to sprinkle throughout. You can also scatter flowers or other decorations if you have room. Though the design is completely up to you, a traditional grazing table leaves very little bare space, so don’t be shy about adding more. Abundance is a theme that’s hard to overdo.

Step 5: Take a tour

Approach the table as if you were a guest and make sure everything is accessible (can you reach for that biscuit behind the candle without burning your hand?) and inviting. Slice a corner of each block of cheese and tear off a few chunks of the baguette to encourage guests to dig right in.

Step 6: Snap a picture before your guests dig in!

The photogenic nature of the grazing table is inversely proportional to the amount of noshing that’s been done, so ‘gram it for posterity’s sake right away.

How To Save Time And Money On Your Grazing Table New Year's
New Year’s Grazing Table Savings

Happy New Year! May you have a wonderful celebration and year filled with the best lifestyle. Thank you to ZeroCater for the collaboration and exceptional article.

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Golden Grandeur ~ Emmys® Governors Ball

Golden Grandeur ~ Emmys® Governors Ball

Emmys® Primtime 4chion lifestyle
69th Primetime Emmys®

Following the Emmys® celebrities like Tracee Ellis Ross, Lily TomlinElisabet Moss, Tituss Burgess, John Lithgow, and Denis O’Hare will gather at the Governors Ball. This year the top in the food, pastry, and design gather to showcase their talents over three evenings at the Governors Ball. This year’s theme is “Golden Grandeur.”

2017 Governors Ball 4Chion Lifestyle
2017 Governors Ball (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

“The 2017 Governors Ball and Creative Arts Governors Ball events will set the gold standard in terms of elegance and environmental sustainability – verifying the two concepts can be compatible,” said Governors Ball Committee Co-Chair, Barbara Cassel. The evening decor will be contemporary and dazzling. The elements of the evening include recycled, repurposed or bio-degradable.

2nd 2017 Governors Ball 4Chion Lifestyle
2017 Governors Ball (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

The decor will use eco-friendly paint, all plants turned into mulch after the event, and the linens, tables, and equipment reused for future events. Sequoia Productions will make sure this is a zero waste evening.

2017 Governors Ball Executive Pastry Chef Frania Mendivil (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

Chef Joachim Splichal and Patina Catering (22nd consecutive year) serving a three-course meal. Executive Pastry Chef Frania Mendivil, brings the Golden Grandeur theme to the pastries masterfully. They will showcase produce at the peak of the season while using culinary sustainability. Patina Catering partners with L.A. Kitchen, a local nonprofit that believes no food go to waste, as well as donating food waste from the celebrations to local farms as compost for the next season of crops.

The menu includes:

2017 Governors Ball Last of the Heirlooms (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

First Course

Last of the Heirlooms Local heirloom tomatoes, dinosaur plum, red quinoa, charred leek vinaigrette, balsamic jelly, basils, and sea salt.

2017 Governors Ball Pan Roasted Filet Mignon (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

Main Course

Pan Roasted Filet Mignon Mission figs, asparagus, purple marble potatoes, roasted red flame grapes, creamy horseradish purée, and whole grain mustard sauce.

2017 Governors Ball Alunga Brown Bar Dulce de leche  (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

Dessert

Alunga Brownie Bar Dulce de leche, roasted cherries, and cherry gel

Main course recipe for your evening glamorous party:

2017 Governors Ball Recipe (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

For the Beef:

Season the beef with salt and pepper, and sear in a pan with 2 ounces olive oil, until caramelized on all sides. Place in oven, and cook to an internal temperature of 128 degrees. Remove from oven cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes. For the Red Wine Sauce: Sauté the 4 tbsp finely chopped onion over low heat for 2 minutes, then pour in the red wine. Add the smashed garlic and thyme, raise the heat, and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Remove the pan from heat and stir in butter, followed by the mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Grapes:

Arrange grape clusters on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 450-degree oven about 15 minutes, until skins are crisp, and grapes are slightly softened. For the potato purée: Bake the potatoes until cooked through, peel and pass through a strainer or food mill, and place in a sauce pot. Add cream, then add just enough milk to achieve a loose potato purée, then add butter, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

For the Garnish:

Coat asparagus with olive oil and grill the asparagus over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes and cut into thirds. Wrap the purple potatoes in aluminum foil with a light coating of olive oil, salt and a branch of fresh thyme, then bake in a 325-degree oven until cooked, about 20 minutes.

To serve:

Spoon the horseradish potato purée onto the center of the plate. Slice the beef, and place 2 slices on each plate. Pour some red wine sauce over the beef. Garnish each plate with figs, purple potatoes, asparagus and a cluster of grapes. Sprinkle parsley on top.

2017 Governors Ball Sterling Vineyards (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

The evening will have exclusive drinks, wines, and a custom bottle of Sterling Vineyards’ new luxury Cabernet Sauvignon, IRIDIUM. Fuji water will keep the guest hydrated through the evening with their exceptional water and custom straws.

2017 Governors Ball Ferrari Trento Vinyards (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

Sterling Vineyards presents Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and Napa Valley Chardonnay. The Guests entering the Governors Ball will enjoy flutes of Ferrari Brut Trentodoc. Ferrari Trento Vineyards is organic certification awarded, keeping with the eco-friendly dinner. Charles Joly designed a signature Emmy cocktail featuring The Hilhaven Lodge Blended Straight American Whiskey. The signature Emmy® cocktail, Created in partnership with renowned director and producer Brett Ratner,  is a balanced combination of Hilhaven Lodge Fireside Whiskey, Absinthe, spiced pear liqueur, and fresh lemon juice. Throughout the evening, attendees will enjoy the Diageo Luxury Brands collection.

Emmys® 2017 Governors Ball Table Setting (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

This is the country’s largest sit-down dinner for 4,000 Emmy winners, nominees and entertainment luminaries. The evening will be glamorous after the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmys®.

Stephen Colbert Hosts The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy® Awards. Photo: John Filo/CBS ©2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The 69th Emmy Awards will telecast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Sunday, September 17 (8:00-11:00 PM ET/5:00-8:00 PM PT) on CBS. Stephen Colbert will serve as host.

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Setting a Beautiful Table

Setting a Beautiful Table

thanksgiving-dinner-4chion-lifestyle
Thanksgiving Dinner

Food is a sensory experience that should carry to the table setting. The menu, setting, and food should coordinate together to say exactly what you are serving. You want the food to present in an atmosphere that tells the same story.

Presenting your food is achieved by setting the proper tableware in the correct location for the meal experience. This provides for efficiency, geometrically pleasing, and effectiveness. Your simple table setting should be as follows:

  • Spoons and knife placed right of the plate 1″ from the edge of the table.
    • Soup spoon furthest from the plate
    • Teaspoon in the middle from the plate
    • Dinner knife to closest to the plate
  • Forks placed left of the plate 1′ from the edge of the table.
    • Salad fork furthest from the plate
    • Dinner fork closet to the plate
  • Napkins placement
    • Under the forks folder
    • Folded on top of the plate
    • Set to the far left side of the place
  • Glass placement
    • Place to the right of the plate
    • Glasses should be set according to the height
    • Cups and saucers place to the right of the spoons
  • Plates
    • Placed in the center of the place setting
    • Remember that food should be served on plates that enhance the food
    • Stack the dinner plate, bread plate, and soup bowl according to diameters
    • Plates can be plain with textures to add dimension

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Table Setting

Geometrics placing provides a balance to the visual ascetics as well as ease of use during the meal.

Table decor should flow with the meal served. This will provide a connection to the mood, food, and time of the year. Examples are:

  • Romance lace lines, soft candlelight
  • Holidays
  • Seasons
    • Adding subtle seasonal colors keep the focus on the food
    • Natural items can bring a real seasonal feel
  • Keep table clothes white or pale neutrals
    • Keep the focus on the food
    • Do not distract from the visual appeal of the food
    • Textures can help with the sensory dining experience

When serving your dinner remember that it is a sensory experience from start to finish. The setting prepares the diners for a sensory dining experience.

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