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Interview: Art of Napkin Folding with the Napkin Wizard

Royal Table

Royal Table (Photo credit: vpickering)







It is outdoor dining season. In my recent interview with Jimmy Ng I learned how to dress up my party table. 

Jimmy Ng has a unique gift for turning a table setting into an elegant presentation. Ng is known as “The Napkin Wizard” for his ability to sculpt animals, flowers and unique shapes out of dinner napkins. Ng has a new book out called, Creative Napkin Folding and Tablesettings.

1.How and when did you first get interested in napkin folding?

I first became interested in napkin folding when I started working for a very nice family in Palm Beach. They always appreciated good service and have been extra nice to me. I always wanted to give a nice presentation for their dining table, even if the meal was just for the two of them. I started to learn how to fold napkins, and before long, I started to create my own styles. Just like magic, it took off!


2.What kind of material should you look for in a napkin? Does it make a difference?

Linen and cotton are probably my favorite. I especially like the ones with different edges/trim colors .It adds an extra touch to my designs.


3.Do you do anything special to prepare the napkins for folding: starch, iron, etc.?

A lot of people make the mistake of using too much starch.  It’s better to just have medium starch on your napkin. It gives you more flexibility for folding. Also, keep in mind that the more starch that is on your napkin, the harder it will feel on your mouth. Iron is a good alternative to get a crease on your napkin.


4.What is a good fold for beginners to practice?

A fan fold is good for beginners. You fold a napkin into a half rectangular, then start folding it accordion-style and fold it together to create a fan. You can insert it in a napkin ring or tie a ribbon.  I also have one sample on my blog, which I call the “wedding knot.”


5.Tell us a little about your new book, Creative Napkins and Table Settings.

My book is about entertaining guests and setting a beautiful table, which I really enjoy doing. I have been dreaming about making a book, and now my wish has come true. Having worked in private home and catering business for over 20 years.  I have put all my effort into the book. It’s straightforward and easy to understand. I hope to see my book in every home. I would like this to be the “joy of cooking“ of the napkin industry.

6.Obviously napkins are only part of the place setting. What tips would you like to share with our readers for decorating a table on a budget?

I do believe napkins play a huge part of making a beautiful table. I have 12 inspirational table settings. In the book, I am trying to show people that you can have sophisticated and elegant table settings without going overboard.

7. Where do you get your inspirations for your designs?

I get my inspiration from everywhere. I think I was blessed with an eye for beauty and creativity. This book is all about love, beauty and entertaining. I like to think of it as something that will bring harmony to your home.

Ng shares his techniques on his blog at NapkinWizard.com and on YouTube at Napkin Wizard .

I was in no way compensated for this interview. Opinions expressed are my own. Buy the book at Amazon

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About the author

Cindy's Recipes and Writings

As a professional cook, I love creating exciting new recipes on the job as well as at home. Assisting in teaching low-income families how to buy, store and prepare healthy food through Penn State’s alliance with Pennsylvania’s Supercupboard Program was very rewarding. During my 11 years with the Master Gardener program, I taught horticultural therapy to assisted living patients using healthful, fr
esh grown food as a focal point. . My hands-on programs and instruction helped hundreds of children and adults learn about where their food comes from and how important fresh food is for your body.
Currently I’m a cook at a college in Pennsylvania. We prepare everything we can from scratch, including our potato chips that tout the seasoning of the day!
Of course I write about food; it's in my blood!

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