Holiday hacks, gift ideas, cooking demos and more at Homestyle's Dish and Design event

The fourth and final Dish & Design for 2019 wowed a capacity crowd with ideas for seasonal home decor, entertaining and gift-giving

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Tips on how to shine with your holiday home entertaining was one of the themes of the latest Detroit News Homestyle Dish and Design event on Wednesday. 

Experts in food, drink and home decor were on hand Wednesday evening to show the crowd of around 150 lucky enough to snag tickets the style tips. The tickets sold out just hours after going on sale. 

Detroit News design writer Maureen Feighan kicked things off at the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield by introducing floral designer Brittany Ross from English Gardens. She had tips for keeping bouquets bright: cut the stems when you get them home, replace the vase water every other day and never put flowers in the refrigerator. 

Ross’ No. 1, though, was buying extra greenery when purchasing a bouquet from a florist. You’ll always want more than what comes with the bunch, she said. For the late fall and winter season, she suggests using greenery, cedar, eucalyptus and even kale in arrangements. She added that this is the time of year (maybe the only time of year) to use sparkle and glitter. 

The ‘oohs’ from the crowd continued with when Feighan announced chef Omar Mitchell would conduct a crab cake demonstration. The chef has had a few restaurants locally, including Table No. 2, a small fine-dining spot on the Avenue of Fashion on Livernois near Seven Mile. 

"Our team is trained to never say no," said Mitchell about the hospitality model at Table No. 2. "We're all about pleasing our guests." 

Mitchell, who specializes in steaks and seafood, broke the news at Dish and Design that he has a new restaurant opening as soon as this month. 

More:Table No. 2 Restaurant to open on the Avenue of Fashion

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"You guys are the first to know about it ... it's called Imaginate," he said, adding that it will be in the Ramada by Wyndham Southfield. "It's going to be social media-driven." 

Guests try out a Maryland jumbo crab cake by restaurateur and executive chef of restaurant TABLE No. 2, Omar A. Mitchell.

The dishes coming out of the kitchen at the new restaurant will make guests want to whip out their phones and share photos with their friends. Popcorn shrimp will be served in a small popcorn machine, the cowboy steak will have a 3-foot fork stuck in it and other outrageous serving apparatuses will be featured. 

Later in the evening, baker Renea Smith of Cake Crumbs in Southfield discussed ways to save your holiday bakes that go wrong. She suggests taking a cake that maybe didn't go right and crumble it up into a trifle or dehydrate the crumbs for a streusel. 

She also suggests getting the kids involved to make cake lollipops using crumbled cake, coating them in melted chocolate and decorating with sprinkles or cookie crumbs. For more tips, she invited the audience to check out the baking classes she hosts at her store. Sign up at

Beverage director Laura Shortt of Ferndale's Valentine Distilling was on hand with a drink idea for the holiday. She madea three-ingredient cocktail using Valentine's sweet and oak-y Liberator Old Tom Gin, house-made cranberry juice and orange and clove liquor. 

For the home bartender, she recommends using a mason jar to shake beverages if you don't have a Boston shaker. Those without jiggers can measure with a tablespoon, which equals half an ounce. 

Pastry chef and owner of Cake Crumbs, Renea Smith, makes cake pops during a demonstration.

In between presenters, Feighan raffled a bottle of Valentine Vodka, books, flower arrangements and other gifts. 

 The co-owner of Clawson shop Leon & Lulu, Mary Liz Curtin, offered fun ideas for host gifts, holiday presents and other shopping ideas. 

"I think everybody should have, for Christmas, some article of clothing — it can be socks, it can be a sweater — that when you put it on, you think the person that gave me this loves me. It's like a hug," she said, adding that books, bottles of wine or a gourmet food item also make great gifts. 

Curtin said if you give a wallet or handbag as a gift, be sure to stick some money in it, even if it's just a dollar coin. Get more ideas from Curtin and her staff at the store's "Girls Night Out" trunk show at 6 p.m. Tuesday. 

Diane Janes of Livonia was happy to finally get tickets to a Dish and Design event, which takes place once per season. 

"My friend Bianca has been trying to get tickets for three years and we finally got them," she said, referring to her buddy, Bianca Lemon of Plymouth. "It really was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the various presentations and I think there was something for everyone."

Twitter: @melodybaetens