These two women, who host what to us are the coziest and most stylish dinners in their homes, aren’t even Instagramers, so they don’t snap and share their beautiful arrangements. (They’re not even on Facebook.) We’re fortunate to have been invited to these home dinners.
Their dinners have that feel of spontaneity. The style is not belabored or pretentious, certainly not the sort mounted by a panoply of suppliers. The dinners are not impersonal because they prepare them themselves, with their kitchen help, and bear personal touches, so that they become unique and special.
Philippine Tatler editor Mia Borromeo occasionally hosts dinners in her home for a handful of friends. She usually starts them with hors d’oeuvre laid out on the coffee table in her living room, like paté served on dainty china, or dim sum on wooden trays.
Then, as the conversations get more exciting—it doesn’t matter that there are usually only three or four of us—we move to the cozy dining table for dinner. Her food themes are usually nothing complicated; she anticipates her guests’ comfort zones.
One time we had “kimchi dinner”—not intimidatingly spicy, just good barbecue chicken, Korean “pancake,” kimchi rice, and of course, kimchi.
Her centerpiece was a classic porcelain bearing blooms plucked out from her garden, made aglow with votive candles around them. The porcelain box was on a silver tray, so that its reflection added to the warm glow.
She used finely shaped glass containers, for candies and sweets for after-dinner, to make the dinner more elegant. A classy dinner for three, and we were the number three.
In Cebu, we always look forward to dinners hosted or styled by Teresin Mendezona, who’s usually referred to as Cebu’s style doyenne, and for good reason.
A month ago, SM vice president Marissa Fernan hosted a nearly impromptu “lechon dinner” for a few friends in the Fernan house overlooking the cityscape.
Mendezona styled the tables using tall fern leaves as centerpieces and native woven fans as chargers. Votive candles were propped on flat mirrors, their reflection illuminating the dinner table. The glass containers made the tablescape even more radiant.
On these occasions, it’s not so much the hostess’ effort that showed—although it was there—as her taste.