Hosting Black Book: Vinita Chaitanya

When it comes to reimagining spaces, few can rival Vinita Chaitanya. All at once vibrant, stylised and eclectic, her unique flair can change the energy of any room, space or garden she sets foot in. An aesthete through and through, we chatted with her on the rules of throwing legendary parties.

What are your ground rules when hosting a party?

It’s important to have conversations so one has to have a compatible mix of guests. I have many other rules on how to do the music–which is super important. There are times I make my own playlist unless there is somebody better than me. Regarding the alcohol–I get very personal about understanding preferences. Whether someone likes a scotch or a single malt, a medium-bodied wine or full

Decor is very important, for me it is the way I live. Lighting is the main game. Candlelight, with beautiful lamps, flowers, and scent are all important.

How do you plan for a sit-down dinner?

I don’t host sit-downs very often but if I do I make sure that the people sitting next to each other have some line of communication with each other. I would put an artist with someone who is interested in art. I try to maintain a good boy-girl ratio so there’s an even group happening around the table. While I prefer round tables for smaller groups, you need a long table for a bigger party. It’s important to me how I layer the table basis what is being served. I love a course-by-course meal, everything has to be served in the proper order and at the same time so no one is left waiting.

What are your top tips on setting tables?

Depending on the food I am serving, it's important to style the table. I love silver thalis for an Indian meal–it's so glamorous. If it's a fun meal I like layering multiple sets of cutlery and crockery. Sometimes each place setting can be different, I can use a lot of colour. I mix up my plates. I am very particular about my cutlery, it has to be functional. When it comes to centrepieces I make sure it's not too large for someone to speak over. I do prefer smaller arrangements or a single flower on each setting depending on if the centre of the table is being used for service or not.

As the festive season approaches, how do you manage your schedule for both hosting and attending?

It’s a crazy time with the festive season. I am pretty disciplined about my work and workouts. I start my day as early as 5:45, so I get a headstart. If I am travelling things are different but my work-life balance is superb so I don’t have trouble with managing time for the after-hours.

What are common mistakes to avoid when having a group of people over?

You have to be sure about food preferences, it is really important to know what everyone is eating or you lose half the party. Music that's too loud puts off any conversation which is quite awful. Music can be mellow at the start and then build up.

Your secret to being a superhost?

I actually enjoy my parties. If the host makes great conversation kicks up their feet and is not too flustered everything goes well. I think that’s the secret of being a superhost.