Superyacht Stews Challenged to Design Top Notch Table Settings

30 March 2022 By Lauren Beck
Contestants and sponsors of the Aqualuxe Top Notch Tabletop contest
Courtesy of Aqualuxe

Lauren Beck is the former editor of Dockwalk and was with the publication from 2006 to 2023. At 13, she left South Africa aboard a 34-foot sailing boat with her family and ended up in St. Maarten for six years. Before college, she worked as crew for a year, and then cut her journalistic teeth at Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal online. She loves traveling, reading, tennis, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox.

If you’ve missed that face-to-face interior design competition over the past few years, it’s time to sharpen your skills to show what you (and your boat) is made of. As the Palm Beach International Boat Show hit town from March 24–27, Aqualuxe Outfitting challenged the interior crew to showcase their talents for the Top Notch Tabletop contest once again after a break due to COVID-19.

“My favorite part of the show was the prize presentation on board M/Y Inspired,” says Cris Clifford of Aqualuxe Outfitting, the organizer of the event. “It showcased who went above and beyond this boat show. All the participants were so excited to be part of the event and they are all signing up for our next event.”

The category winners are:

Stylish Menu Design: Chief Stewardess Daisy Klop of M/Y Phoenix, with a theme of “Whimsical Breeze.” Judges noted that they loved the “dual purpose of the napkin fold with the menu nested within.” The prize was a set of silver-plated Christofle reusable straws valued at $116.

The Ultimate Caption: Chief Stewardess Alexa Forsman of M/Y Inspired, with a theme of “Dining with the Pirates of the Caribbean.” The prize was an interior consultation from Aqualuxe, Molton Brown amenities, and wine glasses valued at $125.

Most Artistic Napkin Fold: Chief Stewardess Kate Foulkes of M/Y 11.11, with a theme of “The Shipwreck.” The prize was a $175 floral crown workshop from Indigo Hues Design.

Best Beverage Presentation: Second Stewardess Justine Macauley of M/Y Inspired. The prize was a $250 champagne set from Blue Oceans powered by Crew Unlimited.

Top Creative Centerpiece: Chief Stewardess Brittany Favors of M/Y TCB with a theme of “Breakfast at TCB & Co.” The prize was a $500 certificate to any class from MPT.

Utmost Inspirational Top Notch Theme:

1. Chief Stewardess Rita Horn of M/Y Sea Suite won the category with a theme of “An Evening in the Jungles of Tulum.” The winner’s prize was a 10-day, $2,199 interior course from Savvy Maritime Academy.

2. Chief Stewardess Lindsey Fowler of M/Y Nansea took second place with a “Chic & Modern” theme. The prize was a yacht CV coaching strategy with Gavin McMichael of SuperYachtResume valued at $150, plus a copy of The Art of Tablescaping by Bugsy Drake.

Chief Stewardesses Lindsay of M/Y Nansea, Katrina of M/Y Rebecca, Daisy of M/Y Phoenix, Alex and Justine of M/Y Inspire, and Rita and Joey of M/Y Sea Suite
Suki Finnerty

Although we seem to be climbing back to normal when it comes to boat shows, Clifford noted that we were not quite back at a “pre-pandemic boat show experience,” which translated into fewer entries, or more simple offerings, like flower arrangements. “In fact, lots of boats didn’t have permanent crew on board as they were just running with skeleton temp crew or brokerage crew,” she says.

But if you couldn’t make it work during the show, you can still enter your table designs. “We had a great launch at PBIBS2022,” says Clifford. “The idea is from now on to push for the global entries. All (permanent) yacht crew around the world have a chance at the title: Utmost Inspiring Top Notch Tabletop.” To participate, you need to register on, design a table setting — coffee or tea service, brunch, lunch, beach set up, formal, theme night — and submit a photo and caption to (Instagram filters are allowed; one entry per table setting, with a maximum of three entries per participant.) You can also post your pics to Instagram and include a caption sharing your inspiration and the details of your table. The winners will be announced on May 25.

“We are looking forward to the next stage, where vessels of all sizes from around the world will be able to participate through our new format and be part of a like-minded community of yachties who want to inspire and be inspired,” Clifford says.

For more related content:

The Yacht Stew Academy to Launch Foundations of Table Design

Former Chief Stew Launches Fashio Brand Gypsy Tribe

Q&A with Deck/Stew Karlien le Roux

Stew Service: Incorporating Butler Skills into Your Routine 


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