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Perfect Table Settings: Hundreds of Easy and Elegant Ideas for Napkin Folds and Table Arrangements Paperback – September 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fumble fingers, step aside. It’s party time every day, thanks to Vivaldo’s latest offering. Caterer, author (The Entertaining Encyclopedia, 2009), and food stylist “to the stars”—the flap copy cites Hollywood functions and post-Oscar wrap parties—the author also provides anyone with the color pictures and easy-to-understand words for turning drab into delightful in terms of 100 different napkin folds, which have been divided neatly into easy, intermediate, and advanced techniques, all with excellent how-to directions. Supplied is a plethora of pragmatic information, from the one recipe that accompanies each of the 25 table settings to a list detailing best etiquette tips for the twenty-first century. What’s unusual is this: many of the folds, such as Go Fish, little bird, pinwheel, and whale’s tale, to mention a few, resemble fabric origami, every one of them pictured in a table setting. Get ready for all of the 2011 holidays. --Barbara Jacobs


Home economics not offered at your school? Here's your chance to catch up on napkin folding techniques, creating party favors, and setting a beautiful buffet table. Add flare to your holiday meals and parties. Denise Vivaldo's Perfect Table Settings has over 250 color photographs demonstrating the beautiful art of table decorating, flower arranging, and napkin folding. Divided into four parts, you'll learn how to festively spruce up your home for any occasion. Easy-to-follow instructions will fit any beginning decorator's needs, while advanced projects will keep advance designers busy. Family and friends will admire your decorating skills when you choose one of 25 theme party table settings for your next event (including Grecian Get-Together, German Feast, Italian Pasta Party, Hawaiian Luau, and Oscar Night). Need an idea for the perfect hostess gift or tips on 21st century etiquette? Follow Vivaldo's simple tips and entertaining will never be more fun! (Kathryn Franklin Sacramento Book Review 2010-12-01)

Anyone who knows anything about catering knows that presentation is just as important as the food. Enter Denise Vivaldo, a versatile culinary pro who has catered over 10,000 parties. Her last book, The Entertaining Encyclopedia, gave us menus and recipes for just about every conceivable occasion. Instead of a new collection of recipes, Perfect Table Settings features hundreds of easy, creative ideas for complementary table arrangements, and comprehensive, step-by-step color photos of how to achieve just about any napkin fold you have ever seen -- from basic to vaguely origami. This book is a must for anyone looking to give their dining table a professional look -- without the angst, and without spending a fortune. (Peggy Fallon Project Foodie 2010-12-03)

Denise Vivaldo is a walking talking cooking/kitchen styling maven. I've been reading about her life as a caterer and food stylist for a while now. I got to hear her speak at a conference I attended last year. She is a one woman dynamo! With her book Perfect Table Settings, Denise has put years of catering experience in our hands. The table is definitely the gathering place fo ryour guests, so why not put your best foot forward? A quick flip through the pages gives an impression that it is a napkin folding book. Don't buy that perusal at all. There is so much more than napkin folding in this book. You begin with an explanation of fabrics, their names, uses and best reasons for choosing which ones for venues. Yes, there are an abundance of folding techniques, use of napkin rings, monograms etc. You'll find What tails, Birds of Paradise, Tuxedo, Shawl, and a simple fan to name a few. In fact, I really believe you could go through every fold in the book and not have the same one for every Sunday in a year's time. However, as stated above, Ms. Vivaldo doesn't just share napkin folding with us. She sets out to give us a bit of finery in our lives. Even the humblest of tables can be improved with a bit of styling. Table settings, care and use of linens, the proper choice of dishware, when to use chargers and even how and when to rent the extras you may need. Want to set the tone of a party? Begin with the table setting, the linens and even something called a silence cloth. A silence cloth with dampen the noise at service of the clanking of silverware and dishes on the hard surface of a table. The noise will not interfere with conversation. Inside the book you will find a floral seasonality chart and tips on floral arranging. You'll enjoy the pages on types of parties, from children's to formal affairs. There is etiquette for the 21st century, and tips on host or hostess gifts. Also included are 25 table settings ready to copy, using found items in your home purchased items to set just the right effect for your theme. She include a few of her favorite recipes for many of the themed parties also. This book is a must have for party givers as well as those who want to ramp up their own family dinners. Who doesn't want their family to feel special, like you've invited royalty to your home, on occasion. We all love to be made to feel like we're the best guest ever and using the tips and techniques Denise shares in this tomb all of your guests will feel the love you feel for them. Perfect Table Settings is a must have reference book for your library. (Earthbound Chronicles 2011-01-25)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Robert Rose (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077880254X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778802549
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A seasoned food professional- with over 27 years of experience, Denise Vivaldo has catered more than 10,000 parties and has cooked for such guests as George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Prince Charles, Bette Midler, Suzanne Somers, Merv Griffin, Cher, Aaron Spelling, Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Maria Shriver. She began her culinary training at the Ritz Escoffier and La Varenne in Paris, and then graduated Chef de Cuisine from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Denise spent numerous years as a professor at UCLA's Culinary Program and at her Alma Mater, The California Culinary Academy.

In 1988, Denise founded Food Fanatics, a catering, recipe-development, and food-styling firm based in Los Angeles, California. Since that time, she has catered for such events as the Academy Awards Governor's Ball, Sunset Magazine's Taste of Sunset, and Hollywood wrap parties. She has also styled food for countless local and nationally syndicated television shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NapaStyle with Michael Chiarello, and Access Hollywood Live with Billy Bush. In 2012, Denise sold the trademark name Food Fanatics. Offering the same services and more, Denise Vivaldo Group, Inc. was launched.

Denise is the author of How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business, which has sold more than 150,000 copies and is in its 6th edition, and How to Start a Home-Based Personal Chef Business. She is also the author of The Food Styling Handbook, Perfect Table Settings, Do It For Less! Parties, Do It For Less! Weddings, and The Entertaining Encyclopedia. In addition to books, Denise is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post as well as her own blog, Denise Vivaldo Blogs.

Denise is passionate about passing on what she has learned. She founded the Culinary Entrepreneurship Program and she teaches catering and food styling seminars and workshops across the country and internationally.

Denise has been a featured guest on a variety of television networks and shows including Good Day L.A., At Home with Lisa Quinn on Live Well Network, ABC Morning News, the Japanese Drama Channel, The Food Network, Home & Garden Network, TV Guide Channel, SoapNet, Lifetime TV, and TV Land.

As a consultant, Denise assists companies to better their products. Clients include The Meyer Corporation, Hamilton Beach, QVC, Hunt-Wesson/ConAgra, Euro Direct, Hy-vee, Capital Brands, and Future Kitchen Technologies.

Denise has helped many people with their cookbooks, including: Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin; Mariel's Healthy Kitchen by Mariel Hemmingway; The Date Night Cookbook by Meredith Phillips; Somersize Fast and Easy Cookbook, Somersize Desserts, Somersize Chocolate, and Eat, Cheat and Melt the Fat Away, by Suzanne Somers; The Food Mover Cookbook and Steam Away the Pounds! by Richard Simmons; The Calorie Countdown Cookbook by Juan-Carlos Cruz; Eat, Taste, Heal by Dr. Tom Yarema; The 3-Hour Diet Cookbook by Jorge Cruise; and Hey, Mom! I'm Hungry! by Susan Powter.

Visit Denise's websites for more information: Culinary consulting services Food styling, recipe testing, cookbook consulting, and more! Food styling classes Denise's culinary blog

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth TenHouten on November 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Denise Vivaldo has really outdone herself creatively, with this treasure of stunning settings. Napkin folding is a large part of setting the perfect table...and Denise "The Napkin Whisperer" Vivaldo walks you through simple steps to follow in order to create the napkin design that will showcase your table setting. There are so many gorgeous photos that make it fun and easy to follow. My favorite is the peacock setting, for champagne and caviar parties. Who ever thought that a napkin could emulate a peacock? Denise did. I also adore the Chinese Banquet table setting--what a fun way to have Chinese take-out! In addition to all of these brilliant ways to make entertaining beautiful, the author has put her years of culinary expertise to work, and offered delicious recipes to accommodate the table settings.
This book is a must for anyone who wants to add that special touch to their dining with a wildly impressive table setting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Geary on November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Obviously Virginia knows nothing about the publishing process. All of her concerns about this book may be valid in her eyes and expectations in what she thought the book would be. But all of her "gripes" and "rants" are really directed to the publisher, art department and photographer not the author.. That's what's so sad as we as authors are the only ones with our names on the cover while we had no say in what picture will be used or how many of what will be shown. We all do the best we can in what is given us. Denise does exceptional work in the parameters set by the publishing house. As do all of us authors. Maybe the book should have been titled Napkin Folds.. But again.. the publisher names all books. Anyone surprised?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alycia Nichols on November 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent guide for napkin folding. The folds are put into 3 categories - easy, intermediate, and advanced - which makes it more palatable and less intimidating. No surprise mind-boggling folds until you feel ready! The technique photos are vivid and easy to follow. I was not as thrilled with the "table settings" portion of the book. Not what I expected. I thought the book would offer entire table settings, but instead there were individual place settings and party ideas. Not horrible...just unexpected on my end. All in all, worth the money for the skills developed after reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Swamp Poodle on April 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I would like to give this book 5 stars because the instructions for the napkin folds are written clearly and the accompanying photographs are clear.

However, my one gripe with the book is the orientation of the accompanying photographs. The photos are placed as if you (the reader) are watching someone seated across from you, rather than watching someone seated to the right or left of you. (If you look closely, the hands in the photos are at the top not at the bottom. ) In other words, the photos are upside-down from the reader's perspective. Therefore it becomes confusing when the instructions say to "fold left flap over to the right flap, keeping the point towards you" and the picture shows the opposite and inverted.

Luckily I can read print that is upside down and backwards. But for those who cannot do that, the choice is to either constantly turn the book upside down or to completely ignore the photos.

Hopefully, the publisher will take note of this for future instructional books.
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