After leaving Catering College in my native Italy, I had the opportunity to join the merchant navy and spent many years working around the world in big ocean liners as a first class dining room steward.
Working at sea was my training ground and where I started my passion for napkin folding. The Captain's table was my platform, allowing me to develop my enthusiasm in this art form to the admiration from my captain as well as the passengers during their voyage. Each day a different fold, each occasion a reason for special fold.
Once on terra ferma, I worked my way up to Restaurant Manager, Banqueting Manager, and Hospitality Manager in several prestigious fine dining operations in the City of London. My last position was as a Food & Beverage Service Tutor at a Catering College in North London. Teaching and passing on my skills to those entering the industry has been very challenging and rewarding. I am a strong believer that students of today will be, without doubt, the captains of the Leisure and Hospitality Industry of tomorrow.
I have been a long-standing advocate for promoting quality and originality in the dining room and “front of house operation” in the Hospitality Industry by encouraging creativity and exploring talents within the workplace. This brought me to create my own style of designs and modify some traditional ones to complement the particular function on hand. I developed a skill producing different folds for a day to day business and more elaborate folds on for special occasions. It occurs to me now that napkin folding was an excellent tool of motivation creating an element of competitiveness amongst my restaurant team.
Over the years, my repertoire and expertise in this field have lead me to demonstrate my creative skill at major Hospitality Exhibitions in the UK and abroad and performing active workshops and lectures to hospitality institutions.
I have created napkin folding designs for Royal occasions such as HM The Queen's Silver Jubilee and The Coronation Anniversary, Prince Charles' Wedding to Camilla now Duchess of Cornwall and for the marriage of Prince William to Katie now Duchess of Cambridge. There is even a design to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Celebrities and social occasions are part of my repertoire of dedicated folds; however my real “pièce de resistance” is a design created for the year 2000 called “Wings of Peace”. This was my contribution for world peace in the new millennium. To mark the London 2012 Olympic Games I have created a symbolic fold of the Olympic Torch. This is a prelude for any celebration and festivities connected with this important event.
Folding a napkin in a particular way with a symbolic meaning has now been identified as a “Contemporary Creative Art form” that can equally be used as part of a table setting or just on its own and for possible marketing promotions or corporate identity.
Luigi Spotorno FCMA
Investing in people means to acknowledge their skill and appreciate their labour.