Into The Sauce: The art of elevated tablescapes
As an ex-chef turned home cook with a keen eye for aesthetics, my approach to styling a tablescape blends creativity and functionality. The presentation of a table isn’t just a backdrop for food but a way of evoking a special evening, weaving a narrative through every element and leaving guests with memories of a thoughtful, joyous occasion.
When styling a tablescape, my goal is to create something visually cohesive that complements the occasion. Whether it's a small group for pizzas or a big celebration with pasta and roasted meat, the table sets the tone. I love the cosiness of dining indoors, but in summer, warm nights outdoors with friends or family are unbeatable. In summer, I embrace lighter dishes that showcase fresh produce, like vibrant salads, grilled vegetables and seafood pasta. I choose dishes based on more than taste; presentation makes cooking exciting. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration I look to for ideas on how simple foods can be made more aesthetic.
I enjoy playing with contrasts when working on a tablescape, whether through an eclectic collection of glassware or mismatched yet curated serving pieces. Purchasing the same glassware in different colours allows for versatility in creating new tablescapes. I adore serveware, and a beautifully crafted bowl or platter adds character, elevating a tablescape beyond the ordinary. Layering linens adds texture and interest. Unless it’s a casual barbecue or pizza night (paper towels), linen napkins are essential for the depth and colour they add. Personalisation through DIY place cards, especially using watercolour paints, is a fun creative outlet appreciated by guests. Lastly, flowers are a must on the dinner table for me, because they never fail to add a sense of special occasion - even if it’s just a bouquet of greenery clipped from the garden. For those aspiring to cultivate a distinctive style, seeking inspiration from TikTok can be fruitful. I often discover new serveware or tablecloth ideas, and TikTok gift guides are a great way to discover new brands. Confidence in styling comes from understanding preferences and experimenting with various elements. Start small, repurpose items at home, and remember trends move fast; you might look at something dusty at the back of your cupboard with new eyes.
Finally, atmosphere. A curated playlist, conversation cards, candlelight, and dimmed house lighting contribute to a memorable evening. If you have multiple speakers, placing one in the bathroom doesn’t fail to lift the vibe.
5 minutes with Tori Falzon
Tell us about your signature style
My signature style is a balance of timeless elements with a modern flair. My favourite brands for tableware include Dinosaur Designs, Alex & Trahanas, In The Roundhouse, and Hay Design.
Somewhere that inspires you?
New York is my favourite place on earth - the food, the fashion, the shopping - everything!
Someone who inspires you?
My grandma is an incredible cook and the way I was raised, eating multiple family dinners at her house each week around a large, beautifully dressed dining table, is everything I want to give my family.
Favourite three ingredients to work with?
A quality dried pasta is a staple ingredient in my home many nights a week, I’m a big fan of butter, and Parmesan works it’s way into most of my recipes in one way or another.
Something you want to do more of this year?
I learned to sew at the end of last year and I can’t wait for some more fun projects with my new machine.
Favourite cuisine destination?
What is one skill you want to master?
Sharpening knives. I’d love to perfect that.
Who is your dream dinner party guest?
Leo DiCaprio! A plant-based evening.
Tori’s Roasted Cauliflower, Pomegranate & Feta Salad
- 125g pearl couscous
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pomegranate, seeds removed
- 200g Greek feta cheese, broken into pieces
- ½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
For the dressing:
- 60g tahini
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp sumac
- Cook pearl cous cous according to packet instructions and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Toss cauliflower in olive oil with a generous pinch of salt.
- Spread on a lined baking tray and roast for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tender, then set aside to cool.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients together until smooth, then season to taste. Set aside. You may need to whisk in up to ⅓ cup water to get it to an ideal dressing consistency prior to serving as it will thicken once it’s mixed up.
- In a large bowl, combine pearl cous cous, cauliflower, pomegranate, feta, almonds, chilli flakes (optional) and mint.
- Drizzle over the dressing and gently toss until combined.
- Serve scattered with extra mint and a sprinkle of sumac.