Less than two months after the start of the new decade, and barely five years after she entered the field, Ami Kothari crossed two memorable milestones in her professional career as an expert table stylist – she completed her 150th short duration workshop and also took a major leap, conducting her first-ever Masterclass, an intensive three-day training course in the art of styling an exquisite dining table experience.
A graduate in Social Work, Ami spent the first few years of her career working with childrenwith special needs, before she began her passionate journey into a relatively less known field. “It all began with me creating experiences on my dining table at home. I had seen my mother and grandmother setting up the table with great care, and used my own creative skills while entertaining friends and family. Many were keen to learn how I did it, and so with their encouragement I finally decided to take the plunge and soon set up my own venture – Dining Couture.”
Since then Ami has conducted workshops in many different parts of the country, crisscrossing from Amritsar in the north to Kochi in the south, and from Kolkata in the east to Surat in the west. She has even held workshops in Singapore and New York. “All these were designed essentially for homemakers, teaching simple looks that are easy to put together and make for memorable home dining experiences for your guests,” she says, adding that they are all highly interactive sessions, and lots of fun.
As The New Indian Express described it in a recent report, “Ami carefully chooses flowers, plants, wood, candles, cutlery, plates, bowls, glasses and table linen to curate a stunning tableau that makes diners appreciate not only the food but also the way it has been served.”
Dining Couture has also been associated with some leading international brands for tableware done events with a number of them. “We recently had an opportunity to do a workshop for Good Earth and Muji at their Bengaluru & Noida Store,” Ami explains. Many cafes and stores have invited her to conduct table styling workshops on their premises as a marketing activity with select clients. These include high end jewellery stores such as Kalasha Fine Jewels in Hyderabad and Her Story & Rosentiques in Mumbai.
Most recently, Ami conducted her first Masterclass – a more intensive course spread over three days where participants learn about handling more elaborate looks for bigger events and enjoy a complete hands-on experience combining theory with practicals, including sourcing. “The Masterclass is for those who are looking at doing table styling professionally,” Ami says.
In a Facebook post she says, “The masterclass has taken months of planning, weeks of preparations days of hard work, early mornings, so many additions and changes in the plans, that eventually mom started calling it the ‘maha’ class and dad the ‘mega’ class!”
There is also a whole range of table-styling related fields that Ami has ventured into – from being involved with styling for India’s first e-cook book, to doing styling assignments for magazines and websites, special styling for individual parties, for brides’ and grooms’ tables on their special day, and even to working with restaurants and caterers to enhance the ambience and experience for their clients. And special sessions for kids, too!
Dining Couture even offers an array of products to enhance your table and add some zing to the tableware. “But,” Ami points out, “I am mindful of not encouraging people to buy more and add to the clutter but to get creative with things sourced from the kids’ room, the craft drawer, the cupboard or the cutlery shelf.”
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