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How to Style a Buffet Table

Watch as Rach's design buddy Evette Rios styles a buffet table for her next dinner party, the latest Easy Entertaining video from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine.

Thu, 8 Oct 2009|

-Hey, I'm Evette Ríos, Rachael's design buddy. And I'm about to have some friends over for a little Sunday brunch. And I'm setting up my buffet table right now. And I wanted to show you guys some of the tips that I like to use when I'm setting up a buffet. So if you don't have lots of footed bowls or footed plates or even cake stands, here's an idea. Why not go to your kitchen and pick up some of the stuff that you have in your kitchen to create different levels for all of your goodies. So I've got some pasta boxes. I've got some stock pots and a nice big stack of magazines. So I'm going to take my pots and I'm just going to put them on the ends of my table. I'm going to stick my stack of magazines right here in the center because I want my centerpiece to be nice and tall. And then, I'm going to put my boxes over here along the edge. So, I've got everything pretty much where I want it. And now, it's time for my tablecloth. I'm just going to grab that and I'm just going to sort of spread it out over my table. And then once I've got it spread out, I'm going to kind of squish it around-- around the outside to make sure that there's hills and valleys. That's what we're going for here. Okay, so that seems just about right. I got my hills. I got my valleys. And I have sort of smooth things out. So now, it's time for my centerpiece. And for my centerpiece, I just made it super simply. I took some beans and stack them inside of glasses that I have in my cabinet. And then, I just cut some mums. I love these. They're so vibrant and fun. And I just-- I'm going to place four of them like this. And it's a quick and easy centerpiece. You can make this at the super last minute. I love that. So I'm going to set them just about like that. And now, I can start setting up my main courses. So, I've got the soup which I'm just going to put right back here. And I've got my quiche that I'm going to put front and center. Now, this is a great idea. I pre-cut my quiche. And the reason why I do that is so that when people come, they can just grab a slice and go. And then, I've got my salad which I'm going to put over here. And when I'm organizing my buffet, I like to keep the savory stuff on one side and the sweet stuff on the other so it's like a natural progression from savory to sweet. So, I've got my bread pudding that I'll put right back here. And then, I'm going to set out a plate for cookies. And so, I've got both store-bought cookies and I've got some homemade ones. But when you've got different sorts of desserts or different sorts of foods that are kind of coming together like, let's say, you got a potluck and like eight people brought different kinds of cookies, rather than setting them up in different dishes, put them all together in one place. That way, people can kind of try them and sample them. It makes it a lot more appetizing. There we go. That's good. Okay. And now, I'm going to put some little nibbles around the table like bread and olives and cheese. I like this because it gets people mingling and moving around the table a little bit more. So instead of putting all the olives or all the bread in one place, sprinkle it around. It's more fun that way. So I've got some bread that I've already cut that I'm going to put right over here. And then, I've got some longer baguettes that I'm going to put over here. And so now, I wanted to put my olives out but instead of just putting them out in a normal bowl or plate, I'm going to make my own footed bowls instantly just like that. So I've got these cool little vintage plates and bowls that I have. These are, believe it or not, the last one of the set because I break everything in my kitchen. But so, I've got my bowls like this. And I'm going to take a little candle holder. And if you don't have candle holders, you can use wine glasses or espresso cups, whatever you have and you just want to make sure that it has a flat top and you stick your bowl right on there like that. Tadaa! How cool is that? A really neat footed bowl. It's super easy. And if you want to make this permanent, you just take a little bit of glue and stick it around. Pop them together and there you go. So I'm going to do that on the other side too with my nice vintage plate. And I'll put some olives in each one. It's just like a little platform form. It makes them look really tasty. And now, it's time to set up the cheese. There you go. One of the things that I like to do is I like to put a plate at the beginning of the buffet table so people just grab a plate and serve themselves. And then, the napkins and the silverware at the end of the table so they don't have to grab all the stuff and walk their way through the buffet. So here is my stack of plates that I'm going to put right up here. And I've got my napkins. And what I love to do is I love to roll them up in little rolls like this, so you've got all your silverware in there rolled up and ready to go. And now, to kind of make it look a little bit more festive, one of the things that I like to do is I like to get a string of Christmas lights and I just kind of take these and just sort of snake it through. And there's no rhyme or reason to this. You can just have fun with it. So now, it's time to add some greenery because I like to cover up the lights and it adds a little uniformity to the table. You want to make sure that you tell people: if it's not edible stuff, don't eat it. Now, I like to mix in broad leaves and then some more sort of spiky ones. You can just kind of mix them in together. And I also kind of lay them on top of one another like this to cover up the stems. And so now to dress up our quiche, I'm just going to take some of these leaves, cut them and sort of make a little laurel wreath around our quiche. And I've got one more thing that I want to do before I turn on my lights and that is to put name cards on all of my dishes. And I what I use is I use a cereal box and I just kind of cut it out a little rectangle with my pinking shears and then folded it in half. And then, with a piece of white paper, just use scrap paper so you don't have to spend money on new paper and just write down what your foods are. So I've got my bread pudding that lives here. I've got assorted cookies which contain nuts. This is a great idea if you have people coming that are going to have any food allergies or maybe food preferences. And so now, it's show time. Let's turn on these lights. Here we go. Tadaa! That looks so cool. My guests are about to arrive and I hope you guys have learned some tips that you can use at home. I'm Evette Ríos and thanks for watching.