by Amber Briant
Chief Stew Kirsty Bouch. M/Y Luna
by Amber Briant
The official tabletop competition
Inspire and be inspired!
Share your creativity and find new and resourceful ways to redecorate and repurpose your decorations.
Thank you for sharing your top notch tabletops and tips
with stews around the world.
All amazing tabletops and creative tips:
palm beach boat show 2022
and the winners are:
Utmost Inspiring Top Notch Tabletop
M/Y Sea Suite
When I was asked what my favorite part of the Top Notch Tabletop Challenge at the Palm Beach Boat Show was this past weekend, it was hard to answer. There were so many great moments, but I must say, the Awards Presentation onboard M/Y Inspired, a 127' Crescent, was the high-light.
This year we changed the format due to Covid 19. After much thought and closer review, we decided to host a virtual experience on Instagram. We had 13 yachts signed in, yet only 7 made the deadline for our award ceremony.
To see the friendship, enthusiasm, and support within the group of participants was awe-inspiring! One chief stew jumped up and bear-hugged another chief stew to congratulate her after winning Stylish Menu Design. From there, the energy was at another level.
Second Stew Justin, from M/Y Inspired, read the winning caption, which I believe everyone should read. They shared that during their last charter, they hid a time capsule to be dug up when they come back next year. How cool is that?
Our guests of honor, Julie Perry, author of "The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess" and Irma Malabanan from Savvy Maritime Academy, presented prizes.
Suki Finnerty photographed the winners for Dockwalk magazine and videotaped the Tip of the Day. We can't wait to see it! COMING SOON! We met Carrie Bailey from the Triton as well as the new owners, Jim Bronstein and Kevin Quirk. We caught up with our dear friend and colleague, Ami Ira, owner of Blue Oceans Yachting on the docks. They are all sponsors of Top Notch Tabletop.
What better way that to launch a Global contest, than at the Palm Beach Boat Show 2022. It was great to be out, and we had perfect Florida weather. Mega- THANKS to all our sponsors including MPT, AlenneKeenan.com, author of the Yacht Guru's Bible, Chief Stew Bugsy Drake, author of The Art of Tablescaping, Christofle, Meridian, The Cocktail Guru, Indigo Hues and SuperYachtResume for your continued support.
Now it's time to REGISTER - DESIGN -&- SHARE your Top Notch Tabletops and compete for the title "Utmost Inspiring Top Notch Tabletop: Global Entries". Awards will be given at the Triton Expo May 25th, 2022. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder of TopNotchTabletop.com and Aqualuxe Outfitting
In yachting every day is a voyage! And, what better way to learn than to set sail and share your knowledge, tips, tricks and ideas with fellow yachties. Find new, creative and resourceful ways to redecorate and repurpose your decorations. Inspire and be inspired. Be part of a like-minded community of professionals.
Yachting: Tip of the Day @FLIBS 2019
Produced and edited by Suki Finnerty of YachtingToday.TV
19 Sponsors, 7 judges and 34 Stewards within 14 yachts were part of the most magical and luxurious interior-crew talent showcase of tablescapes at FLIBS this past November.
Chief stews and juniors shared with us cool tips and tricks of the trade.
Get inspired for this upcoming charter season. Check it out!
Here are the highlights from our last challenge
by Alene Keenan
November 1st, 2019
Aqualuxe Outfitting hosted once again the official tabletop competition of the season. Our judges, Alene Keenan, the Yacht Guru and consultant at Yacht Stew Solutions, Julie Perry, the author of The Insider's Guide of How to become a Yacht Stewardess, Tish George, Interior Trainer at Maritime Professional Training, Sara Trelo, Director of Business Development at Christofle, Jo Cooper, Placement Coordinator for Bluewater, Laura Moore, from the Yacht Guru and Cris Clifford, designer and outfitter at Aqualuxe, hit the docks bright and early, judging the following 7 categories for creativity, aesthetic and overall design impact.
We started at the most northern docks and worked our way south towards Bahia Mar:
M/Y Excellence won the Best Overall prize with one WOW factor after another. The Captain greeted us and presented cold cloths to help us cool off and get the show on the road. Inside the Luxe Interior, silver accents with white and deep blue flowers adorned the table, accompanied by a two-color swan napkin fold and an adorable origami menu design. Their Stylish Outdoor presentation featured silver placemats and bronze chargers with black plates and cocktail napkins, and lush flowers and greenery. Whimsical fairies and tiny lights peeking out of the woodsy centerpiece transported us to another land. Their beverage presentation was an exotic, super tasty, smoky Basil Martini tower and perfectly crafted mini Jack-o-lanterns. Chief Stew Bintu Omagbemi, along with stews Zia Pypers and Jennifer Walker left us with their “Tip of the Day”: Use a mild OxyClean and water solution to remove stains from the inside of jugs and thermoses.
M/Y Libert-y’s Stylish Outdoor décor included blue mats with rustic yellow-toned earthenware dishes for casual appeal. Indoors, a charming Country Kitchen presentation used palm fronds, tiny pineapples, and real coconut and lime décor to give off a tropical vibe. 2nd stew Chelsea Reber represented Chief Stew Alicia Constantino's designs.
M/Y Sotavento’s Chief Stew Mariel Correa, Brooke Smith, and Kate Freeman created a Great Gatsby-themed Luxe Interior Magical Night. A perfect white tablecloth featured a black elevated runner as a backdrop for sophisticated pearls, lush flowers, white peacock feathers, and twinkling lights. Silver chargers and platinum-rimmed china set the tone. An unusual, elegant pleated napkin fold held a metallic leaf. Upstairs in the Sky Lounge, The Peacock Champagne cocktail sparkled with a blackberry and lemongrass reduction and featured a gold leaf-encrusted blackberry on a peacock cocktail skewer. Their Stylish Outdoor design continued the theme, culminating in a Garden Party Soiree. Most Stylish Menu Design was awarded for their charming “Menu Wheel” that rotated to show the different courses. Tip of the Day: roll a paper towel and insert in freshly washed crystal decanters to absorb moisture with no water marks.
M/Y Andiamo’s Chief Stew/chef Nadine Imfeld, stews Ana Sanchez and Lucia Turner’s Stylish Outdoor made a good first impression. The adorable pumpkin napkin fold with a cinnamon stick stem, colorful corn and leaf centerpiece, parchment menu, and freshly-baked cookie leaves definitely said “Fall is in the Air”. Inside, their Luxe Interior presentation won the title of Top Creative Centerpiece with Alladin’s lamp perched above a luxurious rose-themed centerpiece and a stand-alone menu card straight out of The Arabian Nights. Their “Luxe” feeling was accentuated by the inviting deep blue velvet upholstery of the dining room chairs. A Beverage Presentation topped with cotton-candy fluff that trickled deep blue luscious drops of sugary sweetness as it melted into the glass definitely stirred the imagination. Their Tip of the Day was to dampen a Magic Eraser and use it to remove spots and stains from cotton t-shirts. (note to self: this works on marks on clothing from a hot iron, too)
M/Y Qing Chief stew Erin Wilks bewitched us with her captivating Luxe Interior skull and cauldron display set upon a delicate spider-web overlay, featuring the Most Artistic napkin fold: mini-broomsticks for whisking off on flights of fancy. Loved the tiara on the skull! Not missing any skullduggery, the beverage presentation was a stormy concoction featuring “pickled eyeballs” garnishes made of skewered blueberry-stuffeed lychee fruit. Brilliant!
M/Y Rhino Chief Stew Jessica LaBelle was the epitome of the motto, “Think on your feet”. She was not prepared to show us her table set-up, due to the fact that she didn’t know Rhino was entered in the competition!! She graciously welcomed us aboard in true professional Chief Stew fashion, reminding us to always expect the unexpected and just go with the flow.
M/Y Coy Koi’s Chief Stew Kylie Poole and Kristine Barnard enchanted us with a lovely peacock-themed aft deck décor. The napkin fold was a real stand-out, and their bejeweled costumes created a true Scheherazade affect. Genie’s Magic Potion Beverage Presentation rum and Prosecco hibiscus flower-infused Beverage Presentation was topped with blackberry skewers atop sugar-rimmed glasses. Tip of the Day: “The best kind of magic is a ready smile and the Champagne on ice”
M/Y Claire’s Second Stew Lymne Dahl Tanes and team a presented a classic black, red and gold Luxe Interior presentation, but it was their Stylish Outdoor design that took a prize. A white runner adorned with starfish, shells and coiled rope was accented by bright turquoise chargers and napkin rings that set off the menu design.
M/Y Sovereign’s Chief Stew Petronela Sivakova and her team created a truly magical Midsummer Night’s Dream in Five Acts theme for their Stylish Outdoor entry. With rose gold chargers on a midnight blue tablecloth, a bubbling fountain and garlands of rosy chiffon suspended over the table and draped over the chairs, this was a real contender. The menu presentation included one course for each act of the Shakespearean play, and their Hendricks Midsummer Solstice beverage presentation was awesome. They won best Tip of the Day for introducing us to their technique for keeping glassware, mirrors, window, and stainless shining, by way of Reidel glassware polishing cloths.
Our tenth contestant, M/Y Hospitality, surely lived up to their name. Chief Stew Madison MacLeod, Summer Meili, and Colleen Meehan’s charming Stylish Outdoor display made of sea glass, shells, fishnet and castles in the sand was inspired by a favorite photograph. Indoors, the Luxe Interior tablescape was crowned by a gorgeous display of live jellyfish (compliments of Reef Aquaria Design). A graham-cracker rimmed glass held a magical S’mores elixir for their beverage presentation. One huge take for us was how resourceful the chief stew was, instead of purchasing a centerpiece she negotiated a consignment with a supplier. Brownie points for that.
M/Y Horizons II’s Chief Stew Sharyline Bansi chose an elegant monochromatic theme, with a silver-banded swan napkin fold and a silvery centerpiece consisting of a large fishbowl (with a live fish, of course) adorned by a lovely column arrangement of white orchids. White roses and silver starfish completed the effect.
M/Y Three Sons Chief Stew Morgan Brawley and Jessie showed us their clever and unusual Luxe Interior Presentation. It consisted of a ship’s wheel, colorful orange flowers, coiled lines of rope, tiny vases of succulents and greenery set the scene.
M/Y My Maggie’s Chief Stew Monica Bolet staged a whimsical “Beauty and the Beast” themed Luxe Interior table, complete with theme song and cast of character place cards that set the stage for “A Tale As Old As Time”. The Beverage Presentation took home the prize, with Monica’s Beauty and The Beast themed cocktails. Beauty’s Rose Lavender Lemonade with homemade lavender lemonade topped off with Miraval Rose and sparkling soda comprised Beauty’s cocktail, and it was lovely. But her presentation of The Beast was a smoldering twist on the classic Old-Fashioned caught under a smoke-filled glass. She held us captive, gathered around the galley like an audience of school girls! The piece de resistance was lifting the glass cover and allowing the smoke to escape. Et Voila---and there you go!
M/Y Mag lll’s Stylish Outdoor presentation defies description—and gravity. A series of REAL (except one) flower-filled wooden boxes hung suspended over the table. Adorable multi-colored pumpkin napkin folds, cute pumpkin-origami menus and real pumpkins that were adorned with sunflowers to look like loveable little owls were terrific. Dry ice added to the flower boxes created an enchanted atmosphere. Chief Steward Nico Van Der Westhuizen, Chenelle Godfrey, and Kerry Lanschmidt cast a magical spell on us.
An Honorable Mention goes out to Chief Stew Alicia Cossentino for her entry into the competition aboard M/Y Liberty. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we did not make it to her boat. Alicia, we are sorry we couldn’t find your vessel. The same to M/Y Abracci and M/Y Lady Sheridan, that registered, but due to location they were not able to participate.
All MAGICAL & ENCHANTING TOP NOTCH TABLETOPS, CONGRATULATIONS AND HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL AT THE PALM BEACH BOAT SHOW 2020!!