Functional Luxury: A Dinner on Hermès china

    Mario Katigbak is known to have transformed a mall passage into a garden walkway leading up to a museum for an elegant reception. He has conjured a period party at the side lobby of a hotel with a sit-down dinner for 100 guests, prefaced by a fashion show and a showcase for Bulgari jewelry. Tastefulness elegance marks his events as well as the intimate gatherings he hosts. Depending on the season, he might invite a small group around the table once or twice a month.

    “Entertaining people is an opportunity to bring people that matter the most together and spend quality time with them in a comfortable setting,” he says. “These experiences are moments you will always keep.” Recognizing that his guests take the time and make the effort to negotiate traffic, he is mindful to make the evening worth their while. “Make sure you don’t run out of alcohol, food, and good conversation, and you’re half way there,” he grins.

    Mario likes to keep it simple but plans with an attention to details in the silver, the service and the food. “Sometimes having too much on the table can be distracting.” The most important element to a fine evening is the right mix of guests, people who can enjoy the company of others even if they are only meeting for the first time. After deciding the guests list, he conceptualizes the meal, determines the cuisine, the number of courses and the type of service before working out a menu. “I try to have at least one dish that could be a point of conversation for its taste or presentation, although preferably both,” he shares. “It’s always good to surprise your guests with something new or unique.”

    One occasion he organized was held at the second floor of the Hermes store in Greenbelt 3. Two couples were invited to the Hermès Maison, as an introduction to the collection. A kitchen was set up outside the store where a kitchen staff from Makati Shangri-la prepared the courses.

    The hotel chef was invited to the store to see the motiff of the plates which were going to be used. “This helps to inspire the food he comes up with and the plating as well,” Mario explained. “The menu took the most time considering it was outside catering. The food selection is highly dependent on what cooking preparations are allowed on-site.  Once that was finalized, we prepared a table mock-up for the evening, based on the courses to to served. A photograph of the mock-up was sent to the florist for her to work on the centerpiece that considered available space on the table, the color and pattern on the plates so all the elements for the dinner tie-up.”

    It took two weeks of preparation but being a regular patron of the Makati Shangri-la helped the process come together smoothly. “It’s important to develop good relationships with suppliers; it makes entertaining so much easier,” he says with a generous smile.


    Considerations for Function and Form

    1. Make sure centerpieces aren't too high that floral arrangements obstruct the view of the people across you. It hinders conversation.
    2. Remove pollen from flowers to avoid allergic reactions. 
    3. Training the staff at home helps bring together the experience. Good service is key.  
    4. Make sure you have a good set of silver cutlery and crystal to elevate the experience. 

    Tableware Used

    Attelage Silver Plated Flateware –The collection draws from the equestrian heritage of Hermès with utensils following the shape of the hook in a harness buckle. The modern design is a stylish take on the accessory used for tandem carriage-driving.

    Iskender Wine Glasses – Exceptional skill crafts crystal with delicacy, cutting smooth facets by hand to create stemware with a modern sensibility.

    Carnets D’Equateur Plates – The artistry of Robert Dallet impresses the animal beauty of panthers, impalas, jaguars and tigers on the porcelain collection. Drawings of the artist and naturalist caught the attention of then CEO of Hermès Jean-Louis Dumas who arranged to have Dallet’s realistic depiction of nature’s wildlife on the plates and dishes carried by Maison&Objet

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