This year, many of us will likely be ringing in the New Year at home. But as the old saying goes: “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. While lockdown restrictions or quarantining may be beyond our control, that doesn’t mean we can’t transform our own tables into an elevated dining experience from home that rivals any hotel or Michelin Star restaurant.
Why not make one of your New Year resolutions a commitment to creating an elegant and enjoyable dining experience without having to leave the house? Below we have some simple tips to help you turn some lemons into lemonade. Warning: you may just start to prefer hosting to going out after applying some of these pointers. Bon Appetit!
In the words of the Jewish Sage Hillel: “If not now, when?” Now is the time to bring out that gifted china set or fancy serving dishes you’ve been hiding away for a special occasion, polish the fancy silverware, and break out those crisp, gorgeous cotton serviettes. The simplest of meals can turn into an elevated dining experience from home when presented in a special way. Shannon Wehsener of Paul Allen Design, half of the team behind the gorgeous Hotel Château du Grand Lucé, which opened last year in France’s Loire Valley, says: “By doing even the simplest of things with a degree of intentionality in our homes, perhaps we can bring stability and beauty to a turbulent time.”
Indeed, it is imperative to keep spirits up during unprecedented times. Lay out an elegant tablecloth; throw in some candles and a floral or foraged centerpiece. This could also mean dressing up for the occasion, and hosting an elegant aperitif hour before the meal. MY DRAP has a fabulous collection of aperitif napkins that can be shopped here. Whatever you choose, make sure the result is an elevated dining experience from home you and your guests can look forward to!
Pictured right: The formal dining room at Hotel Château du Grand Lucé in France.Photo: Michael Spengler / Hotel Château du Grand Lucé. Source: Architectural Digest
Ditch the generic box of tissues or paper towel roll and opt for something more elevated. MY DRAP’s selection of cotton serviettes and placemats come in an array of contemporary shades and patterns to suit every interior and mood. Their signature quality is their unique woven cotton constitution- they come in perforated rolls and can be either disposed of after the meal, or washed for future use. They will spice up every table setting for an elevated dining experience from home. Want to kick it up a notch? Have your napkins personalized with a custom monogram to really impress your guests. Shop collections here.
Make your circumstances work for you. Sick of eating at the same kitchen table, or feel stuck in the same living arrangements? Switch it up! Why not move to the dining room if you’re used to eating in the kitchen? Make it into an elegant affair to keep things exciting and get reinspired by your space. San Diego-based Wehsener writes: “After a difficult day of uncertainties this week, I searched the pantry for a jar of preserves from Paris, artfully arranged some charcuterie on a lovely platter with various treats from the refrigerator, opened a bottle of French wine, and we sat outside, enjoyed the sunset and each other’s company, and reminisced about France”. Any space can feel like a dreamy oasis with the right inspiration and vision. Change up your dining venue tonight and see how you feel!
Lighting and illumination is something restaurants and hotels often play around with strategically to set the right mood. Often, houses are too illuminated. The goal in creating the right ambience is not to add light, but often take it away. Dimming the lights and adding candles is often a great way to create that soft, warm ambience that just makes food taste better and the wine flow smoother. You can even cover lamps with scarves in order to soften the glow of harsh light.
Want to host, but at a responsible distance? Paperless Post has now launched their own solution to hosting a virtual soiree. You can now create custom invitations with different recipe ideas. Hosting a virtual “Facewine” or cookoff has never been easier. Compare cooking skills and tips with friends. Upload your own Zoom background to transport you and your guests to a French winery or an Italian Villa without leaving your home!
Perhaps the final and most obvious way to create an elevated dining experience from home is to switch things up in the kitchen. Be sure to buy basic, versatile ingredients that can take you a long way. For instance, leftover oven-roasted chicken can be shredded and used in tacos or breakfast burritos the next day. Steak can be sliced into a salad or thrown into a stir fry. Leftover veggies can be used to create a new pasta dish. Overripe fruits are perfect for sangria or a sweet compote. You get the idea. Don’t be afraid to experiment and turn leftovers from another meal into an elevated dining experience from home everyone can enjoy.