Last week I shared with you all a little look into Viktoria’s hosting process. And this week I get to share Nadia’s hosting expertise with you all!
What does this have to do with furniture you ask? Well, lately I’ve really been thinking about my “why” and how for me, Tabata Elisa Design is so much more than updating old pieces of furniture. It’s about personalizing and customizing a home and combining both modern and historical elements. It’s about keeping with tradition but also breaking the rules a little. It’s about creating a space where all who come into our homes feel welcome, cherished, and inspired. It’s about community.
So without further ado: I would like to introduce you to Nadia Chernichenko. A graceful mother and wife who consistently chooses to find beauty in all things. She radiates joy and has the biggest heart for people out of most anyone I can think of. She chooses to look beyond her hardships and always tries to see beauty in all of it, no matter how difficult. She is the kind of mom I aspire to be someday. I hope you enjoy this little interview with her and are able to walk away from it with ideas on how to make the gatherings in your home a little more meaningful.
Me: What inspires you when preparing to host?
Nadia (N): I think for me the biggest inspiration and joy I have is in creating a menu. I have always enjoyed making food the centerpiece of the table. Often, more than flowers or decorations.
Me: What is your favorite thing about hosting?
N: My favorite thing about hosting is spending time around the table eating and sharing. It’s the intimacy that’s naturally created. The conversations we’ve had through the years will always remain close and dear. Even if we only spend a moment together. People have such an array of stories to share. Almost each one has shocked us, shaped us, challenged us. In one way or another. It’s hard to get to know people like that through social media. The tradition of gathering around food will remain to outweigh anything offered that’s less than that.
Me: Do you have any tips for those of us who are often tight on time?
N: In a tight time frame, it’s all about what’s in the fridge and doubling up on what I am already cooking that day. I also love storing premade meals in the freezer, so if I’m lucky, I can resort to one of those. I’m huge on soup, and I make a pretty great roasted eggplant soup that always gets great reviews from my loved ones.
Me: What is your favorite meal to make when you have ample time?
N: If I have time, gosh, anythings the limit. Although my recent favorite has been Mediterranean inspired cuisine. Lots of small sides take time. And my husbands shish-kabobs are amazing.
Me: Where do you buy your tablescaping supplies?
N: I have five kids and dishes are always breaking. So almost all of my dishes are second hand. Thrifting has my heart. I feel that if it has survived a previous owner, it has a better chance to survive with us. :)
Me: How do you store your tablescaping supplies?
N: We have a pretty compact kitchen. So reserving entertaining dishes is out of the question. Everything we use for company is used around our family dinners as well. I have a set that’s put away for holidays but only if a larger crowd is expected.
Me: How do you prepare food ahead of time?
N: I’m big on timelines. So having as many things ready, chopped, dressed, is the key to success for me. Even to the minor detail of a garlic clove minced, helps relieve the mind of stress once company arrives. My tip is to plan the serving dishes you will be using ahead of time and arrange them on the table to see if you have enough at the sizes you like and arrangement that pleases you. I have shuffled and fumbled way more times than I needed to trying to get all the food on the table.
Me: Do you let your kids help you when setting up for company?
N: My kids love helping and will spend time prepping with me. The most interesting part is finding out who prefers doing what. Like my daughter loves to work with raw meat and has from a very young age. So she will season, rub, and marinate anything I’ll allow her to. It’s such a great help. My son, loves to chop and has recently bought his own knife to do it with. He has the patience to cut things perfectly and precisely, which I appreciate. Now my other son, loves to taste test and assess flavors, so I always call him into the kitchen when I’m making adjustments. And of course the youngest two come in at any opportunity to help me bake. It’s a full kitchen with helping hands around here, but I must admit, sometimes I like the therapy of doing it on my own.
There you have it! I love what Nadia said about shopping second-hand for her table supplies. We CAN have nice things, and when they are second hand, we won’t feel so bad when something inevitably breaks. I also love how she tries to keep things simple and nontraditional by not only using her “nice” dishes for guests but also for their everyday life.
I grew up with the idea that you have your “nice” dishes reserved for guests that sit untouched in a glass cabinet for most of the year and you have your worn unmatched dishes reserved for family. But I love that Nadia presents her best to her family on an everyday basis and only brings out her other set of dishes for big groups.
I also love what she said about paying attention to her kids’ natural interests in determining how they help her in the kitchen. Her daughter loves working with raw meat so instead of struggling with her on something that she is not naturally interested in, she empowers them in the things that they naturally gravitate towards.
Lastly, Nadia’s tip on using what you already have in your fridge as a starting place for what to serve guests, is also a handy one. If you are anything like me, than you probably have way too much food getting thrown out on a weekly basis due to poor planning. Something I have really been wanting to work on getting better at.
I hope you enjoyed this read and that you were able to take a few things away from it that inspire you in this season of hosting! If I missed in anything here or in my interview with Viktoria, let me know additional hosting tips you live by in the comments!