During the holiday season, there's nothing more heartwarming than coming together with loved ones, breaking bread and sharing quality time. It's also the perfect opportunity to unleash your creative side in crafting a warm and thoughtful table setting. This not only makes your treasured guests feel welcome and cherished but also sets the ambiance for cozy, festive gatherings.
We invited three creative individuals from around the world to share their unique approaches to setting their holiday table, sharing insights on how they incorporate cultural and personal elements from their heritage and lives into this year's festivities.
Theophilos Constantinou, Founder of Psyche Organic,
Copenhagen, Denmark, @psycheorganic
Theophilos on his table setting:
Sharing a meal with someone, breaking bread, is a timeless ritual. As humans, we all eat. The eating process is so fundamental and is what brings people together. The plate and the setting are essential to presenting the food. I’m a suburban kid from Akron, Ohio, and for me, it should be simple. When you present food in a beautiful way, it enhances the experience: candles, soft lighting, beautiful tableware, the act of pouring water from a beautifully crafted pitcher – it’s all a part of the sensory experience of what you’re eating and drinking.
What food are you serving?
Faki, or Fakes, a traditional Greek lentil stew with a spicy twist. My dad was the oldest of six brothers in Cyprus, and he would be the one coming home and cooking for the family. He passed down the recipe to me. For me, cooking is like jazz music. You’re working within a set framework but then making it your own based on intuition. My family wasn’t the biggest fan of spicy food, since I love a spicy meal, I make it spicy by including a whole red chilli.
Theophilos’ top tip:
Take it slow. Good things take time. The way I cook is slow, it’s a cathartic, mediative process for me. It’s done with love. I know how long it takes to grow these ingredients and they should be treated with respect. I’m putting love into the dish and that energy is transferred into the food that I’m making. There’s a joy that comes out of feeding people. Cooking for people is a gift and the food is a gift from the earth.
Theophilos’ Family Recipe for Faki
Brown / Green Lentils (approx. 250g)
Two onions, chopped
Four carrots, chopped or grated
One bunch whole celery
Two tomatoes, whole or chopped
One sliced red chilli
A few sun dried tomatoes
A few bay leaves
A handful of sea salt
A handful of oregano
– Wash and clean the lentils and pre-soak them if necessary.
– Coat the entire bottom of a pot with olive oil.
– Add two chopped onions and an entire clove of garlic, then add tomatoes and tomato paste and slowly build up the sauce.
– Slowly add all of the other ingredients.
– Allow to simmer for at least an hour. Allow to rest, preferably overnight, for best results.