A question for professionals in the home-entertaining business: What will you be doing this year that is different from last year ?
Hollis Acker, Parties by Panache, Fullerton:
"A lot more home-style, good American food and (less) nouvelle cuisine and all that fancy, fussy stuff. The food will appeal to a greater number of people because it's heartier and more familiar--sort of regional American with touches of Japanese, California and French."
Arthur Simon, party designer, Beverly Hills:
"Lighting in a way it hasn't been done before as an alternative to candles and votive lighting, which have had their problems with fire marshals. The new lighting will set some new heights in table decor, with a taller, more dramatic look. And that old adage, less is more, will still prevail."
David Jones, floral designer and decorator, Los Angeles:
"Nothing different this year. I always take in consideration the individual atmosphere and conditions of a party. That should be the only guideline to go with."
Lenore Breslauer, owner Pasta Etc., Beverly Hills:
"More spicy, Mexican-style foods. There is a demand lately for more spicy foods, probably to compensate for lower-salt cooking. And that's what we're doing--spicy chicken with Chinese black bean paste, polenta with ortega chiles."
Joann Roth, Someone's In the Kitchen, Tarzana:
"Beef is back. There was a time people said 'we don't eat meat,' so we turned ourselves inside out to give them 25 different ways to eat chicken and fish. Now, although people may not do so at home, they want beef on occasion with real gravy and real mashed potatoes. The American heartland is back. Also strong is Italian pasta, but the new thing about it is fillings that are different--pumpkin and duck. Thai and Vietnamese are also strong. On the dessert scene, Americana--apple pie and cheesecake. Things we love."
Susan Campoy, Julienne, San Marino:
"More sit-down dinners. More simple fare, emphasizing dietary considerations. We're doing more diet dressings and sauces made with chicken stock instead of cream. We're also using more grains and vegetables. And, because we all still have a weakness for dessert, more great desserts--but not diet desserts."