Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAR 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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A t a wedding reception last fall, I noticed something unusual about the table setting. Nothing matched. Plates, bowls, glasses, cups, and saucers were all different. But instead of looking haphazard, it was sophisticated and a little funky. It all somehow worked together in the most artful of ways – this mixture of patterns, colors, and materials. It's called the eclectic tabletop, and it's been a favorite of forward-thinking restaurants for several years. Now it has proved so popular that brides are asking for unmatched place settings at their wedding receptions. That's how you know a trend has gained wide acceptance – when people want it on one of the most important days of their lives. How to explain the staying power of the eclectic tabletop trend? It has to be more than everyone fondly remembering the quaintness of the flower pattern grandma used. Maybe it's familiarity, The Eclectic Tabletop: Mismatched Plates Trend Is Here to Stay because every household has at least one or two dishes that don't go with anything else but get used anyway. More likely, it's the freedom, flexibility, and creativity afforded by foregoing strict adherence to matched sets. Some restaurants choose the eclectic tabletop because it blends practicality and whimsy, sophistication and playfulness. On the practical side, mismatched dinnerware offers decorating flexibility and requires a smaller investment, because sets can be improvised using tableware already in inventory. Whimsically speaking, they're just plain fun, creating a relaxed vibe and putting diners at ease. An artistic eye is able to find a common theme among the disparate choices, making order emerge from chaos. An easier alternative is to choose a uniform style of glasses and silverware to tie the table together, and let the plates and dishes be as wild as they want to be. A restaurant that has embraced the eclectic affords its chef the ability to go to town in terms of plating and presentation. Chefs are drawn to mismatched plates because they can pair specific plate colors with specific entrees, harkening back to the idea that "we eat with our eyes first." It adds another dimension to their creativity, upping their plating game by pairing a culinary invention with the color and pattern that will act as a perfect visual complement. It's not a task for the faint of heart, as careful thought must go into each pairing so signature dishes stand out like the stars they are, not sore thumbs. Embracing the eclectic tabletop makes decor truly unique, cues diners that they are in for an experience, and offers another avenue for expressing creativity. There's nothing mixed up about that. For more information on eclectic tabletop dinnerware: 800-452-4462, www.hlcdinnerware.com. by Katie Bricker, foodservice and general marketing manager for HLC Mismatched dinnerware offers decorating flexibility because sets can be improvised using tableware already in inventory. Homer Laughlin sponsored content MARCH 2018 • SPONSORED CONTENT • 17

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