Anyone who has attended a gathering hosted by mom-of-four Tessa Valdes knows that she’s not just the life of the party, she also knows how to throw a phenomenal one, whether it’s a full-on theme fete or an intimate affair.
In her home last week, Valdes with her youngest, Athena, 12, hosted a few of her mom-friends and their daughters to a pre-Mother’s Day get-together, with the help of food entrepreneur Rina Go, who also brought along her younger daughter, Madison.
Go owns and runs Nic’s, which started as a bakeshop, but now also provides party catering services using well-loved, family-tested recipes.
“I supervise all my parties, especially those at home by assigning key people to be in charge of certain areas,” Valdes said. “Each will be in charge of food, giveaways, prizes, drinks, etc.”
She added, “I used to not bother with the menu or food selection. But lately, food has been my party concern. After choosing the theme of my party, I make sure the food is in line with the setting.”
With Valdes, Go worked out a menu that included appetizers, a main course and a dessert bar. “I send the list in advance so it gives the host time to decide on the flatware, linens, table cloth and theme,” said Go.
Valdes chose a tropical theme, which made Go’s job a breeze since the hostess already had a table laid out with a centerpiece and floral arrangements set up when she arrived at the Moroccan-themes home in Makati.
Valdes’ staff used fabric as backdrop to the buffet table, picking up on the theme of the dining table. Valdes used colorful and exotic table accents, including her precious coasters from Africa. Go simply made sure the color clusters of the food at the buffet complemented each other.
“She left me to explore her very interesting cupboards, where I was able to choose the perfect goblets, wine glasses and serving plates,” Go said.
The hostess herself was surprised by the things Go found in her cupboard. “She was glad to know an old treasure was put to good use,” Go said.
“Tessa was completely at ease, dressed and picture-perfect—way ahead of time. She played music to liven up the scene and make everyone comfortable.”
Go prepared a selection of finger foods from Nic’s: Baked Boursin, a seven-herb dip made from scratch; and a charcuterie platter with jamon Serrano, blue cheese, chistorra, and brie served with warmed baguette and honey.
The mains included Chilean Black Mussels in White Sauce; Salmon Crunch; Seafood Medley Pasta; and Maggie’s East Coast Turkey.
Named after Maggie Go, Rina’s late sister and Nic’s’ cofounder, the turkey is staple on Nic’s menu. “It’s always a winner visually, and it comes with stuffing, gravy, corn, cranberry,” said Go. “I always enhance the setting with fresh fruits, nuts, herbs and flowers. I like to bring out silverware especially when serving wine.”
Go’s dessert buffet was groaning with Nic’s’ specialties: Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting; Peach Walnut Torte loaded with walnuts, peaches and whipped cream, and is included in Inquirer Lifestyle “Best Desserts” book; Carrot Cake, loaded with walnuts and raisins, and covered in cream cheese frosting; QDB Apple Pie, a Nic’s classic loaded with quezo de bola; and a special request of the kids, double fudge and oatmeal fudge bars.
“Busy working moms have to juggle chores and motherly duties daily,” Valdes explained why she brought together her mom-friends for a little chill time.
Present were Marissa Concepcion and daughter Bella; Jojo Ongsiako and daughter Mica; and Bela Albert, who came without mom Cris, who—not unusual for working moms—couldn’t make it at the last minute.
“The task of balancing family time and work schedules is a constant challenge and there is no perfect formula,” she added. “I set priorities and non-negotiable guidelines to assure that I am able to keep my role as a mother as best as I could. I organize my working days to have both family dinners and social events at equal footing. All weekends are always for family unless there is an important occasion or launch.”
She’s happy that her children understand what her job entails. “My kids are already comfortable with my career as a social butterfly so they understand if I have to miss out on some dinners. But they know they are my priority.”
Valdes relies on the help of services such as Nic’s’ when she’s hosting at home, especially with her hectic and erratic schedule.
“When we were leaving, Tessa blurted out with pride: ‘Don’t forget your giveaways!’ We were all so surprised,” Go recalled. Valdes had them hidden under the centerpiece: exotic potted plants, the pots of which were artistically wrapped in special fabric.
“Some people know Tessa as a fashion icon,” Go said. “I say Tessa is known for her extremely thoughtful and generous heart, and positive outlook.”
Nic’s, G/F Phase 1B, UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Quezon City. Call 9585574, 3549081, 09999948131, 09177002513; e-mail [email protected]
Visit www.nics.com.ph; follow @nicsph on Twitter and Instagram.