Setting a creative table makes your guests feel so special—and it doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming! Professional stylists and designers take you through their inspirational table settings step-by-step so you can recreate them in your own home. They also share shopping hot spots for unique and distinctive items.

Party Ideas

Chef Lea’s Fondue Party for 50

Comments Off 07 February 2011

Images by Mike Danen Photography

Typically, you’ll find that fondue is for small groups…but Chef Lea McIntosh figured out a fun way to serve it to a crowd!

First, she planned for the following stations and spread them throughout the party space:

Meat fondue station with chicken, steak, sausage and prawns

Fresh fruit and dessert fondue station

Cheese and nut platter

Lea says that it’s always a good rule of thumb when planning any party to SKETCH IT OUT! Here is her drawing for the meat station and you can see that the final station is very similar to her sketch. “This also helped me make sure I had all of the service pieces, from platters, to sauce bowls, to utensils,” says Lea. “Without the sketch, I might have easily forgotten something and could have been running around at the last minute. Instead, by planning ahead, I was able to enjoy my guests.”

You’ll notice that the meat is raw. “When serving fondue for a large crowd, it’s best to prepare the meat to order.” Lea recommends recruiting a few of your friends who would enjoy socializing while acting as sauté chefs.

Lea likes to give her guests lots of options so the meat selection included filet mignon, New York strip, chicken breast, prawns, and Italian sausage. She used 20+ pounds of meat for 50 people. “This is more than usual; however, the meat station was the highlight of the evening and there wasn’t anything left!”

Lea’s Fonduta Di Parma is a great fondue choice for the meat station. “As with all cheese fondues, the heat needs to remain low, so the cheese doesn’t separate,” Lea advises. “Be sure to occasionally stir the fondue to avoid burning or separation.”

Recipe from “Crockpot Chic,” Nesting Newbies Magazine, Issue No. 2, page 14

There was an ample supply of fresh, handmade, mini-braided challahs, miniature honey rolls, baguette slices, plus a variety of tasty condiments to round out the station. Lea suggests bottled barbecue sauce, gourmet mustards, or Asian condiments such as Hoisin Sauce, Sweet-N-Sour, or Teriyaki.

Lea utilized every possible surface for her party. “I have a coffee table with a glass top, so I used it to serve the vegetable fondue station. A variety of freshly blanched vegetables surrounded an elevated Gouda Cheese Fondue with traditional buttermilk ranch sauce for dipping.

To complement the fondue stations, Lea presented an artful cheese platter. Guests love the beautiful display, and the delicious selection of cheeses. Read all about creating your own creative cheese platter in The Cheese Stands Alone in our Winter issue of Nesting Newbies. Turn to page 46. There’s a helpful video bite, too.

The dessert station was to die for! Chocolate fondue with lots of sweets perfect for dipping: pound cake, macaroons, Rice Krispie treats, marshmallows, and fresh fruit! For the fondue, Lea whisked heavy cream into melted chocolate until it reached the right texture. You might want to try her original WhatChaMaCallIt Chocolate Fondue.

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Must Haves

Roll Out Your Napkins

Comments Off 30 November 2010

The next time you set the table, roll out your napkins, placemats and table runners!
products come on a perforated roll…soft, supple 100% recyclable and biodegradable squares and rectangles you can tear off as needed. They can even be washed and reused. Available in three sizes and more than 20 colors.

Available at

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The Team

About Chef Lea
About Editor
Mcintosh & Murphy