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Lets share ideas

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, first timer here. I have recently become kind of bored of my displays. I was hoping that some people could share some of there little tricks and tips of the trade. What kind of stuff do you guys use to add depth to your buffets and what kind of creative ways to have your silverware and plates set up. I do a lot of outside stuff as well using alot of higher end plastic ware. I was looking for something new to jazz it up a bit. Any fun tips would be appreciated. I would love to learn from all the talent on this board and hopefully share some of mine.

post #2 of 19


I have also become bored by my displays lately - I have started looking on line at pictures of what other are doing for inspiration. I had been building under my linens at stair-step levels. I am going to start building on top by using things other than boxes that will look good under the trays.
What have you been doing?
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I build under my linens as well as I dont really have alot of nicer stuff to add to the top. I have just recently sold both of my restaurants and I am building slowly. I am looking for some creative ways for silver and salads. I am a big fan of overflowing baskets and trays. kind of like a cornucopia look. but i am looking for somethings that people do that are different and creative!!
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
By the way is there a good website with good pics around?
post #5 of 19
Glazed pots, birdbaths......

I use wood wine crates as height....lots of fluff sheer from Flower Wholesaler,
different pattern cloths, for an Asian Station I'll have a Copper Mongolian hotpot with chopsticks coming from the top.
Large Antique french meat and cheese boards.
Fragile glass bowls with stems....ugh...

I hit estate sales, flower wholesale places, antique shops.......home supply places (lowes, home depot), Craft stores, etc.....

Recently a friend bought a wheeled display board with shelves to pass hors deuvres at large parties.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
I love the wine crate idea. do you have any pics of your displays?
post #7 of 19
I've used plastic milk crates as risers ... works great.
post #8 of 19
I do, but have not yet learned how to put them on a computer. Learning is on my to-do list.

At Christmas I had a 60" round table with various heights....large stock pot, being the tallest. Had gift bags with cookies/bars coming out of them.

Decorating station with a 2' gingerbread girl from a discount flower place, covered the base in rock sugar.....really like the look of chunk sugar.

Rice baskets, birdbaths, wire sculptures meant for planters.....I use for bread baskets could be used for silverware rollups.

I feel stale too......moving kitchens the end of the month. NOTHING like moving to see what you got. Unreal, home in Feb. business in April.....ugh....
thank goodness March was slow cooking wise but good booking wise.
April is going to be outrageously busy.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #9 of 19


Today, inspired by this thread, I went to the Christmas Tree Shop and bought several bamboo cutting boards, paddles and bowls I plan on using - haven't figured out the risers yet
post #10 of 19
my waitstaff keep telling me to get light trays. I'm branching out and finding woven ones, interesting shellaced ones....putty is great to put a small dipping dish on a passing platter.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #11 of 19
Want to talk about bored with my display... we only serve Mexican food and so we only offer two types of displays... Mexican or Wedding decor. I work for a Mexican restaurant, so we are limited on our menu...which I'm bored with as well. :roll:
post #12 of 19
YOu went to Christmas tree shop without me!!!!

You can use the bamboo boards for cheese or nori rolls and the bowls for the condiments for nori. We seem to be doing a lot of nori stuff lately. Cheap to make and we can charge a lot for it!

For risers, tape 3 #10 cans or smaller ones (#5?) together and put the under cloths. They're light, free, and ugly as all get out, but hidden under cloth,who knows?
post #13 of 19

Home Goods and Pier 1

I am also bored with our displays. My Sous Chef and I were discussing this very topic this weekend.

I get a lot of good (and inexpensive) service trays at Home Goods/TJ Maxx. They always have stuff on sale -- check the clearance area first! Today I found beautiful large glass cylinders on silver pedestals at Pier 1 on sale for very little $$$.

We are looking for risers also, and I want something light weight...we shlep so much stuff as it is. I'm thinking about hitting Michaels and buying styrofoam sheets that we can cut and stack (maybe put them together with velcro strips so they don't move). We'll cover them with linens. I'm optimistic that it will work and we'll have something lightweight and easy to move.

Once we figure out how it's working I'll try to post some pictures. It's good to know other people are working on this too...

Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
I just picked up some milk crates and I went to a couple of garage sales looking for stuff. I also started using pepsi bottle crates. they are super sturdy and have a wide base. does anyone have any lighting ideas?
post #15 of 19

let's share ideas

Sorry Lentil! I used the bamboo stuff we saw the day we went... put terra chips in the bowl for color, herbed feta cheese and crustini on the small fan and humus and veggies on the 3rd. Used glass vases as risers. I have pix, but don't know how to post them here! Put me in the ignorant techie category with shroom! No offense shroom - am there with you :)
post #16 of 19
I've made a couple of my table risers out of plexiglass/lexan which can be purchased at HomeDepot. I cut it with a jig or table saw and then used a torch to heat it and bend it to shape. It works well and I drape it since it is homemade. :smiles:
post #17 of 19
Beyond just using various sturdy materials under linens for height and pretty platters:

I’ve done glass vases for risers myself. I once saw a florist use floor vases on the table top. The arrangements were mostly greenery and a few birds of paradise, inside the vases she had koi fish swimming!!! I always thought that this could easily translate to the vase as the riser for a plate of something; I haven’t had an opportunity to do this. I tried to sell the idea to a bride and groom who were both marine biologist and using fish as the theme of their wedding. However, they leaned toward the idea that the use of live fish as decoration was some how inhumane. :) I do have a client lined up for a Mardi Gras Ball next year who really likes the idea. If it pans out, I’ll let you know.


A little labor intensive, but a neat effect, is using Styrofoam blocks, covered in foil or waxed paper, then a layer of greenery affixed with floral pins. Not just stuff from the produce section but washed yard clippings, magnolia leaves, ivy etc. (it’s free!) obviously make sure you don’t use poisonous plant material. You can build like legos (secure with dowels if you start heading toward the Tower of Babel) with “terraces” wherever you want. This is a great way to make a “tower” of cheeses, fruits or whatever with a slightly tropical motif. It looks really cool.
Even though it is labor intensive, you don’t have to fork out big bucks for an impressive display pieces.

As far as lighting goes:

I had an evening heavy hodos at an antebellum mansion that is a state run historical sight. No food allowed in the house, just on the veranda and with limited electric supply. If candles were lit the fire department was required to be present (and financially compensated), and absolutely no torches, not even in the garden. The site director was happy with floating candles, if knocked over the water would extinguish the flame. I used several glass pedestal bowls and the reflective property of the water was great. It’s a mood thing.

Jumping off into mixing water with light: I’ve seen some lights that float in water on several floral web-sites. I’m not sure if they are “glow sticks” or what, but they come in a variety of colors.

I know that all of these suggestions are heavy on the “decoration” side, but I have always found good inspiration by seeing the florists get creative.
post #18 of 19
I've used flats of wheat grass with small pots of pansys in melima running down the middle of buffets with a large center piece on a 60" in the middle....so 3 spokes and a hub in the middle.

Hobby Lobby has cool shtuff.

I've never been creative with table scapes, at one time I hired a designer for $500 to put together several designs that I've copied through the years. WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
gotta love hobby lobby!!! what do you guys put your sileverware in?? I use baskets for my roll ups. but I was looking for something different! I recently found a kids pail that had dividers in it that I use for picnic type stuff
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