Hello, friend! I am Nandi Chin Walsh, a bridal, event, and floral designer from Kingston, Jamaica, and now living in south Florida, by way of New York City and Florence, Italy. I know that’s a mouthful–but that’s exactly what’s shaped my perspective as a creative. In everything I do, whether it’s a wedding, a fashion show, or a bride’s most perfect dress, I apply what I’ve learned from the places I’ve lived: the finest things in life tend to be delectably simple, or simply delectable. Case in point: brunch. Who does not love a good brunch?
One of the things I miss the most about living in New York City is brunch on Sundays after church. I often reminisce about sitting in one of the sidewalk cafes near Central Park, sipping on a mimosa, savoring crab cakes and eggs Benedict, and watching people in their Sunday styles go about their day. How I miss my New York City days.
And so, I decided to celebrate my birthday this year with an intimate brunch, in order to adhere to Covid-19 safety measures. And since this blog is about sharing my experiences designing, building, and celebrating everything beautiful and wonderful, here are some quick tips on how to throw a fabulous brunch with an unforgettable menu. Your friends are sure to be talking about it for years.
How to design a captivating tablescape:
First off, let’s talk about party décor. I am all about the tablescape. You may ask, What’s a tablescape? Think table-landscape.
Here are some quick tips for designing a great one:
1. Choose the theme for your event. Being the ethereal flower child that I am, I wanted to do a floral theme.
2. Next, select your color palette. I went for a vibrant palette with a plethora of bright pinks. I am an island girl after all; we can’t get enough color.
3. Choose your table cloth or the type of table you will use, whether it be one with a rustic wooden surface or modern glass/mirror type. The floral tablecloth I found is by Kate Spade and I got it at Homegoods. It sets the tone for the flowers, the chargers, plate ware, glassware, flatware and candle décor etc.
4. Keep the tabletop accessories within the same aesthetic as the theme. For example, if it’s a modern coastal design, keep tableware clean and simple. I got plates from Different Look Rentals that are floral-shaped and have an embroidered lace look. The chargers, goblets, chairs and flatware I rented from Glam Touch Rentals; they are currently offering great packages for intimate gatherings due to Covid19. Check out party rental companies in your area. I know a lot of them are doing the same. I also picked up some gold rimmed pink cocktail glasses at Home Goods, along with a punch bowl and glass set.
Now, if you are not the type that likes to go hunting for all the tabletop accessories, or you are just too busy, I get that–believe me. If you would like to be able to just choose a theme and have everything you need, even flowers delivered right to your doorstep, I have the perfect company for you. Social Studies provides a selection of fully styled rentals according to theme. Their themes are so whimsical and fun, and they make it so easy and convenient.
5. And finally, set the mood by creating a great ambience with music and candle décor. Lit or not lit candle décor is everything. I went with a playlist of classic jazz artists like Etta James and Brazilian jazz artists such as Bebel Gilberto.
For the flora, I got the most beautiful array of flowers and greenery at Trader Joes. They had amazing floral finds. My favorites are peonies in various shades of pink. They were only $9 a bunch: SCORE! Take it from a floral designer, that’s a great bargain for peonies.
Coming up soon on the blog, I will show you how to create a beautiful organic floral arrangement using grocery store flowers. Make sure to stay connected for all our upcoming blog posts.
How to plan and execute a “simply delectable” menu:
The brunch menu was what brunch is meant to be: fine, simple, delectable. It was not only easy to do, it was also delicious.
My sous chef Hubby and I made a pancake board, like a pancake charcuterie platter with fluffy buttery mini pancakes. We love the Bob Red Mills gluten free pancake mix. It’s so good and doesn’t taste like your typical gluten free product.
We served it with fresh berries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and maple syrup with a side of crispy bacon.
No menu is complete without an ooey gooey cheesy dish. We made two! Baked brie en croute and Pommes Dauphinoise. We added lump crab meat we got from Costco to the Pommes Dauphinoise before we put it in the oven to bake. It was divine.
To offset this decadence, I made my famous Field Green Goat Cheese and Praline Nut Salad dressed with a fresh basil vinaigrette. I say it’s famous as I have had family and friends request it for every event they throw. People can’t help but go back for seconds. I served it in parmesan cheese bowls so guests could snack on these as they ate their salads. The recipe will be coming up soon on the blog. You really don’t want to miss it.
When people think brunch, they think mimosas. We made a Strawberry Basil Mimosa with St. Germaine Liqueur. If you haven’t had St. Germaine liqueur, you need to. This Elderberry liqueur elevates your cocktails to a whole other level.
To keep with the floral theme, I had ordered some gorgeous edible flowers from Gourmet Sweet Botanicals to garnish some of the dishes we made. While browsing their Instagram account, I came across a Rose Punch from the Design Love Fest Blog. It was ethereally beautiful and I just had to incorporate it into our brunch menu. It was also perfectly refreshing for a hot Florida summer day.
My sweet husband Jon made me a gluten-free, sugar-free carrot birthday cake with grass-fed cream cheese icing. I have a lot of food intolerances as a result of my auto-immune issues, so I can’t have gluten or any refined sugar. This carrot cake has been a tradition in his family for many years and man, is it good. I will be posting the recipe soon along with the gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free version. Subscribe to my blog now to get it right in your inbox!
I hope this helps with your brunch party planning. If you have any questions or comments, let me know below. In the meantime, stay safe and be blessed… and dream about your version of a perfect Sunday morning, preferably one with a glass of something bubbly!
Fashioned by the Father’s Hand,
Photography by TraceyandMartinPhoto.com