Plan a great New Year's bash

But don't do it alone: Get a stunning menu, fool-proof decorating tips, and expert party-planning advice from a top caterer

Margo True

MeMe and Bruce Pederson's guests know they've come to the right party. It's midafternoon on New Year's Eve, just about the time that hundreds of shivering tourists in Manhattan are squeezing into Times Square. Here at the Pedersons' house in Palm Springs, people are splashing around in a sunlit pool.

Inside, a dinner table is set for 14, with a shimmering green tablecloth, clusters of pink peonies and roses, and plates neatly laid. Oysters with grapefruit granita, short ribs, and warm pear crisp stand by, ready to roll. MeMe is totally on top of things.

Which isn't surprising. She's the co-owner of Taste, a San Francisco catering company that orchestrates an average of 700 parties a year ― everything from a company picnic for 10,000 to presidential dinners laden with protocol to intimate suppers for 10.

You'd think that on her time off, she'd just want to plop on the couch. Instead, MeMe entertains every chance she gets. "I like having people in my home. I love having my own music, my own wine, my own food, and thinking about how the table is going to look. I like the process almost as much as I like the dinner itself."

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