Selina Selma- Romualdez serves up easy and elegant entertaining ideas
It was already nine o’clock in the evening when we got to Selina Selma-Romualdez’ old family house in Banilad. Fresh off the plane after a flight mishap and heading straight to the shoot, we carefully knocked on her door, apologetic for the late intrusion. What welcomed us was a warm, beautiful table setting, with charcuterie, sausages, olives, and bread served on the side, the smell of homecooked dinner in the air, and soft music playing in the background. With a job that entails searching for the best products from around the world, Selma-Romualdez is as open as her home: there are no strangers, only guests, and new encounters are always welcome.
What was your earliest memory of a gathering at home?
As far as I can remember, I was always surrounded by family. We are all bound with a common bond and we all share the love for food. Now, with my own kids, the rituals of Sunday gatherings with the entire clan are what binds us together. We have long lunches that lead to merienda and later on, dinner.
What is the perfect number of guests?
Heavy entertainment is not my style. Ideally, I prefer to put together a spread for two to four couples at a time. I feel I am able to engage and better entertain. Moreover, it doesn’t feel
like I’m cooking for an army. I’m the one that definitely does a mix of embellished and casual dinners.
What is your entertaining style?
My spread is usually dictated by my mood. Undoubtedly, anything goes for me. Nothing complex, only smartly paired and wholesome food.
What type of food do you think is best for entertaining at home?
I have this love affair with Italian food; it always leaves my soul satisfied. It is my go-to spread because it is deceptively simple to make and it always leaves a comforting and contented palate. My favorite part is that it’s always best paired with any type of wine.
How do you arrange the seats? Do you pair couples, friends?
There are always two phases in a gathering. More often than not, we are all seated by pairs but, when desserts and wines are deep with the conversations, we find ourselves seated with girls on one side and boys on the other.
What is the number one rule every good host or hostess must remember?
It’s good to always over-prepare. I never want a fun night to end and the best way to keep it going is to be sharing great times over a sensational feast.
No dinner party would be complete without...
A sense of humor with a good bottle of wine.
What was the greatest dinner party you ever threw or attended?
I enjoy my regular experimental dinners with my foodie group. It’s the only time the closet- chef in us comes out to play without any harsh judgments. We are always in it for the fun and we all love to share with each other our gastronomic discoveries.
What are the things one should consider when entertaining at home?
Depending on the gravity of the occasion, there are so many elements to consider in entertaining. For me, space and environment are crucial aspects I would assess. One must make sure that there are ample seats for everyone and that guests must be comfortably entertained at all times. I feel that when these are compromised, they bring unpleasant responses— and those will just spread like wildfire.
Do you consider themes?
Yes, in our foodie group, we have themed menus. This way, all preparations complement each dish. More than anything, we are always on the lookout for any element of surprise.
What’s your principle in hosting a gathering?
A gracious host makes the entire night. It is essential to entertain only with good vibes, a stellar spread of sophisticated yet simple creations, and always a good set of friends to enjoy it with. There’s really nothing more to it.
SLEEVELESS BLAZER, VANIA ROMOFF. HOUNDSTOOTH TROUSERS, P2,995, TOPSHOP, AYALA CENTER CEBU.
KNIT DRESS, P2,295, ZARA, AYALA CENTER CEBU.
SELMA-ROMUALDEZ’S APPETIZER SPREADINCLUDES A SMOKED SALMON SALAD, SAUSAGES, FRESH GRAPES, AND BREAD. FOR DESSERT, SHE SERVES TIRAMISU ANDBRAZO DE MERCEDES.