Padma Lakshmi knows a thing or two about entertaining. Not only is she the host of Top Chef (the new season premieres on October 15), she's also a cookbook author and creator of an eponymous line of global-inspired tableware at Bloomingdales. "My first customer is always myself. I cook a lot, and I've been wanting to do [tableware] for a long time, so I can finally have what I haven't been able to find!" she says. Check out a few of her pieces below — and if that's not enough to inspire you, read her tips for throwing a dinner party your guests will never forget!
Make things easy on yourself: "Prepare most of your food ahead and set the table the night before. Whether you're cooking for two or 20, you want your attention on your guests and not on the million things going in the kitchen. If you have a good time, they'll have a good time!"
Set the mood: "Music is really important — and so is the volume!"
Photo: Courtesy of Padma Lakshmi
Forget spending a fortune on table décor: "You don't have to buy big floral bouquets every time. You can sprinkle some glass beads on the table to make it look more festive, or bind some cinnamon sticks together with gold twine."
Dress things up outdoors: "If you see a beautiful blanket or sheet or a thin Turkish towel that you like, buy it and use it as a tablecloth. It's a great way to add a lot of color and brightness and cheerfulness."
Break the ice: "You have to make that first move for your guests — another reason you don't want to be frazzled in the kitchen! So if you have two friends that you think have something in common, start the conversation yourself. You don't want anyone to feel awkward, especially if they're at a dinner party without a plus one."