The Complete Guide to Styling a Gorgeous Grazing Table

What is a grazing table?

Anvik says people go nuts for grazing tables because there’s truly something for everyone. Not into cured meats? Try the cheese. Vegan? Go for the gorgeous fresh fruit or nuts. It’s a modern twist on a buffet that serves as both party décor and food.

“We usually make them the centerpiece of the room or sole focal point. It draws your guests in and allows for an easy flow of conversation and mingling. Plus, it creates a piece of art that you can eat and allows your clients to choose their own adventure,” says Courtney McKay, Head Chef and Owner of In Good Company, a catering company in Nashville.

Pick a theme

Before you start mapping out your grazing table, pick a theme. Your theme can be as simple as meats and cheeses or your favorite fresh and local foods — think spreads, fruits, cheeses, honeys, etc. Or go for something more specific like different types of crostini, a seafood spread, dessert bonanza or barbecue favorites. It’s all about personal preference and style, so choose the foods that you love to eat and want your guests to enjoy — and that will hopefully look pretty too!

“I love working on tables that have unusual themes or flavor profiles. One of my favorite tables ever was born out of a woman who was having a lemon themed baby shower, so she wanted a lemon focused grazing table. To this day it is probably my favorite just because it was so unique,” Anvik said.

What to buy

“I would not suggest throwing a lot of soft cheese on a table that is going to sit in the sun for hours on end,” McKay said.

What McKay loves most about grazing tables is that there are no rules. “That’s what’s fun about a grazing table. You can add a little bit of this and a little bit of that and it still works.”

The setup  

McKay likes to lay out butcher paper on her grazing table and put out all of the food on top which makes for a breezy cleanup. Use all different types of serving dishes and glassware of varying heights to add dimension and interest to your grazing table.

“I find a lot of strange serving pieces and glasses that we use on our tables from estate sales for next to nothing. Pick some of your favorite things, keep it simple, set it out, and enjoy your party.”

Chef Kyoo Eom likes to use marble tiles instead of plates to build his display. He also likes to use flower pots to hold cookies and chocolate.

Location is also very important. You don’t want to put a grazing table in the corner of the room, it should be easily accessible to guests from every angle of the table – this helps mitigate the dreaded buffet line from forming.

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