ISES Dining Spaces 2009- With A Taste

Table For Two

Table For Two

The New Jersey North Chapter of the International Special Events Society held their 6th annual Tabletop Design Competition last night at the Olde Mill Inn, in Basking Ridge.  Members, judges and guests strolled through the Inn which was filled with dazzling table scenes and delicious hors d’oeuvres.

Some of the tabletop highlights included a gorgeous Tuscany setting from Amarayllis, a romantic table for two from Details of I Do, an opulent-chic design from C. Brower & Co., a groovy blast-from-the-past courtesy of  Conroy’s & Something Different, and a spring masterpiece by Touch of Elegance that was a sister-creation to their “M” table from the Meadow Wood Manor’s open house last month.


Tuscany Bistro

A few of the cuisine notables that had people talking were the scallops with bacon from Main Street, the organic prosciutto-chicken and spinach pizza from Bolu,  and the mango with custard-creme yellow cake from Roxanna’s.

A personal highlight was pretending to be James Bond in Goldfinger with Michelle D’Anna from Signature Events who I worked with a few weeks back at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club.  She brought in the stand-out furniture pieces of the night.  Everyone who passed by stopped and posed for a glam-photo shoot.  Some people thought I was part of the presentation because I happened to wear a gold-colored Zegna and pocket square.

Asian Elegance

Asian Elegance

Kudos to everyone that participated and congratulations to all of the winners. The following is a partial list of awards presented.

The Apprentice- Kristin Rockhill and Erin Poles, The Rising Star- Christine Brower & Eileen Daniels, The Connoisseur– Erik Olsson and Mitchell Kolby, Creativity & The People’s Choice- Michael & Lisa Plociniak, & Bang For Your Buck– Conroy’s & Something Different.

Special thanks to my good friend Marien Barker, Social Sales Manager at the Olde Mill Inn, for her hospitality and a guided tour of the festivities.

Encore Gallery: (Click on thumbnail to enlarge photo)


Mitchell Kolby and Erik Olsson from Amaryllis Decorators


Michelle D'anna from Signature Events


Dan Cordasco, (middle) & the Touch of Elegance team


Catherine Conroy, Conroy's Florist & Patricia Tumminello, Something Different


Christine Brower from C. Brower and Co. with Eileen Daniels


Dennis Telischak (middle) with his wife Diana (left) and Maryann Santucci


John Bocina representing Trattoria Bolu


Teri Lands and Joy Allen from Main Street


Roxana Trujillo from Roxana's Cakes

Classic Style and Romantic Elegance- The Meadow Wood Manor

The Meadow Wood, Randolph, NJ

The Meadow Wood Manor, Randolph, NJ

Jeff Beers and his lovely wife, Maureen, as well as the dedicated staff of the Meadow Wood invited industry notables to their manor last week for an evening of gracious hospitality and delightful entertainment. The invitation said, “Explore the Possibilities.” It turned out to be quite an expedition.

Denise Zoccolillo and the welcome team greeted all the guests with a warm smile and introduction which included a detailed program of the highlights to come. It was a beautiful evening; so, many of the  guests enjoyed an ice carving demonstration and a three-olives, vodka-tasting outside in the garden by Executive Chef, Michael Stein.  A strolling saxophonist and a barber shop quartet began the evening’s soundtrack.

Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase

Guests moved inside to the recently renovated Dining Room for, among others, a delicious “Taste of Tuscany” and a crowd favorite, food from “The Fabulous Fifties”. No matter how fancy and mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres can be, everybody likes to enjoy retro-chic cuisine from time-to-time.  Sliders, Franks, Fries and Milkshakes were being offered by the Happy Day’s-themed servers.  Knowing I was going to the gym the next day, I indulged with a big-kid smile on my face.

Retro Chic Hors' Dourves

Retro Chic hors d'oeuvres

Molly Welch and Mary Ellen Hatcher took us on a grand tour of the manor which included meeting rooms utilized for their corporate clientele, a renovated game room for their bar mitzvah clientele and the bridal suites for their wedding clientele.  Like the exterior garden courtyards, the interior of this colonial is exquisitely maintained and offers a lot of versatility for private events.

The Grand Ballroom opened and the guests with impressed by eye-catching table designs and well-dressed themes at the food stations. The presentation of the Lobster Bisque service and the “M” table were my favorites.  I’m sure the “M” was for Meadow Wood but it was fun to pretend that it was for Marcello.  Entertainment for this portion included a Swing Dance and Salsa demo, a percussionist and a comedian.

Spring Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

Spring Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

The finale took place in the Randolph Room.  Chef Stein’s award-winning desserts were as delectable as advertised. Crowds quickly built up at stations like the funnel cake with hot cinnamon apples and ice cream as well as the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding when word began to spread about how sinful everything was.  The servers were not to be outdone though.   They passed around fancy versions of the classics like chocolate chip cookies and milk that were very well received.  This hour was complimented by the sounds of a Jazz Trio.  Many of the guests had to put their coffee down more than once so they could sing along and dance to audience pleasers from the Rat Pack era.

Mary Ellen Hatcher, Maureen & Jeff Beers

Mary Ellen, Jeff & Maureen

As our cars were brought up by the valet service, we were given gourmet cupcakes in a decorative gift box to thank us for coming.

Note to anyone hosting an event, acknowledging all of your guests upon departure is, and always will be, a very classy touch.

From first impressions to the last, the Meadow Wood deserves your attention if you are planning a social or corporate event in the Morris County area.

Special thanks to Jeff, Maureen, Mary Ellen, Molly and the Meadow Wood team for their hospitality.

Encore Gallery:

Barber Shop Quartet

The Four Old Parts

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque

The Jazz Syndicate

The Jazz Syndicate

Milk & Cookies!

Milk & Cookies!

Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

Table Design by A Touch of Elegance

Shelia and Kelene from Event Makers and Corrine from Absolute Events enjoyng the trio

Shelia and Kelene from Event Makers and Corrine from Absolute Events, my cha cha partner, enjoyng the trio

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