Hubert Burda Media

Hostesses with the Mostest

Whether holding luncheons or dinner parties, these ladies show why entertaining at home has never been classier.

Hostesses with the Mostest

GRACE WONG
Ballroom dance enthusiast and amateur chef
In Grace Wong's spacious four-storey abode, she can habitually be found hosting gatherings in the dining area. The accomplished home cook often has her relatives and friends over during which she whips up delectable delights. “I really enjoy cooking and feeding people. Sometimes, I cook for up to 30 guests at once. It's great to have people feeling happy and comfortable in my home,” she says. Her specialty is Chinese cuisine, and her signature dishes include steamed crab, mee sua noodles in freshly boiled chicken or pork rib broth, and Cantonese soups which she prepares daily for her Hong Kong-born husband, Kevin Wong.
Apart from cooking, Wong also has a penchant for interior design. For instance, when the house was being built, she chose not to engage an interior designer. Instead, she indulged her love of contemporary design by furnishing the entire house, complete with a sweeping ballroom in the basement, with the help of her husband. (One of her favourite pastimes is ballroom dancing.) The result? A modern, open-format space with personal accents that lend a homely atmosphere. There are vibrant, contemporary paintings on the walls; an Italian dining table from multi-label boutique Marquis; and more than 10 unique sculptures placed around the home, including a pair of leather-fringed sheep from Bangkok and a miniature Balloon Dog sculpture by Jeff Koons.
MANIZA JUMABHOY
Society doyenne and gourmand
To Maniza Jumabhoy, eating is one of the most important pleasures in life. And when guests visit the lush, three-level Jumabhoy home for a meal, she sees to it that there is a different atmosphere each time. “I enjoy coming up with various ways to set the table in order to create a unique ambience,” says the savvy host who entertains several times a month. For example, an East-meets-West theme saw her pairing chinoserie-patterned napkin holders from Hong Kong with quintessentially Western dinner plates with gold trimmings; chopsticks adorned with carved Chinese Zodiac animals lay next to table ceramics (from German brand Meissen Couture) and silver bowls with intricately carved lids from India.
Food-wise, she often serves traditional Hyderabadi cuisine such as biryani and mirchi ka salan (a chilli curry). Dessert however, is almost always Western-oriented such as English Banoffee pies, pastries and salted caramel ice-cream, made by her daughter, Nada. This eclectic, fusion style also runs through the house where items from brands such as Italian design giant Minotti and Bangkok and Singapore-based Lotus Arts de Vivre, abound. There are also sculptures from local sculptor Kumari Nahappan — smaller-sized versions of the iconic Nutmeg and Chilli — that were gifts from Nahappan, a close family friend. “The key is to mix everything well. Fill your home with things you love, and it will reflect
your personality.”
TAN MIN-LI
Lawyer and home baker
For Tan Min-Li, a Managing Partner at law firm Colin Ng & Partners, one might think that entertaining at home is a luxury given her work and travel schedule. In reality, the self-professed home cook loves having friends over and organises lunch or dinner parties at least once a month. “My entertaining style is really casual, but paired with great food and amazing wines. It's nice when people are able to gather at home, cook and enjoy a meal together instead of always going out for dinner, which can be done anytime,” she shares. Some of her most memorable gatherings have included barbecue parties at which her industrial-grade grill churns out delicious steaks, and themed get-togethers such as a National Day-inspired one where guests came togged in red and white outfits. She also hosts formal dinners, during which food preparation may take up to one week (she does not like to cater, preferring to cook from scratch).
Tan is also a gifted baker and her specialties include flan, tarts and black forest cake. “Cooking is an art, but baking is a science. That's what I love about baking — it's very technical. If I don't get the desired results, I will try to analyse why, then do it until I get it right. I've probably baked 100 black forest cakes,” she says with a laugh. She often entertains in her dining room which also features a large walk-in wine cellar, where reds, whites and vintage champagnes from Salon and Krug are stored neatly. Design-wise, the three-storey home resembles a contemporary resort villa, which she outfits with Christian Liaigre furniture and objects from Proof Living.