CATIE Award Winner – Best Catered Event
Each year the International Caterers Association – ICA hosts the CATIE Awards. The spirit of the Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence Awards is to recognize achievements of exemplary production at an event. The best catered event is defined as an event that stands out as extraordinary and innovative. Voting for this award focuses on the original menu concept, design, and management of catering production. Here’s our winning submission!
Immersive VIP Culinary Experience
A culinary experience designed to excite the senses and transform the palette. We created a VIP experience to tour guests through the venue, each room offering a new experience crafted to ignite a different sense; whether it be olfactory, visual, touch, or taste. The client gave us free reign to excite their senses, and wanted the entire event to be a surprise, so that’s what we delivered! Each venue space featured either an hors d’oeuvre, action station, or beverage to enjoy. Our expertly trained chef’s introduced each experience and item to the guests before they sampled it, therefore, fully understanding what sense they were going to delight with that item. This event was designed to immerse guests in a high-end and unique journey, brought to them by custom culinary experiences.
Every detail of this event was meticulously planned and designed. The guest list was small and intimate, leaving lots of room for creativity! Guests arrived at the venue and were greeted with a map of the building and menu detailing the experience. Once introduced, guests were welcomed into the first room where their visual senses were ignited with rainbow floral elements, their tastebuds excited by fresh compressed watermelon bites, and a fruit-inspired cocktail.
Once that space was complete, guests moved into the next room where they tasted ‘boats of paradise’ with dehydrated kimchi and umami sauce, and fried white and green asparagus with truffle fig aioli.
The next room featured the most unique sensory experience of the event – a chocolate spa! Guests were led to a private station where staff poured chocolate, heated to exactly 86º, over their hands. Guests were invited to lather their hands in the warm chocolate for a moment before it was washed off. After having clean hands, guests were given a terrine with white chocolate mousse, fine wine gelate, and cocoa powder dessert, this was paired with an expertly crafted smoked scotch cocktail. All of these menu items were designed to create heightened senses and a creamy and smooth flavor to food and beverages, due to the lingering scent of chocolate on their hands. It ensured guests had a small scent of chocolate to enhance the thought-out flavors.
Once the chocolate spa concluded, guests were led to their next station, ‘Leaf and Layer’. At this food station guests and chef’s worked together to create a plate customized to the guests liking! Menu items were paired with an artisan water bar where individuals could make their own flavor of infused water.
The last journey on this immersive experience was designed to create a four course tasting menu to pair with a moment in time. Each step was aptly named to signify its goal. We began with Gratitude, a blackened petite tuna loin with black carrot and tomato purée. Next was Black Magic, beef tenderloin skewer with blackberry demi-glace and a flaming salt finish. Third, Reflection, a chocolate mug with a chocolate sip. Lastly, we had Complete, fermented black bean salad with chaga mushroom, black garlic, and toasted chia seeds. All courses of this experience were laid out upon a piece of black slate and presented to them step by step by our Executive Chef. He led them through each moment and sense. This menu tasting was paired with an expertly selected red wine to smooth the palette.
After completing this portion of the event we moved to a different venue on campus and wrapped the event by showcasing a palette cleanser of gelato, a spritzer bar, and a fabulous lounge to relax and wind down in.
Our overall vision for this event was to introduce our guests to experiences they’ve never had before! The goal was to highlight that no request is too grand, and we will stop at nothing to ensure the most unique, memorable, and exciting event possible! By exposing them to new atmospheres and senses in each room of the venue, the guests not only got a tour of the facility, but a custom culinary journey. This event was like nothing we had ever produced before. The menu items were all brand new, the cocktails had never been sold before, and the experiences were dreamed up mere days before execution. We didn’t gather event inspiration from others for this menu and concept, everything was completely dreamed up by our Director of Events, our Executive Chef, and Beverage Manager. Once we had our theme set for a culinary experience like no other, we ran with it and created the most incredible and immersive event!
All photos by Billow & Mull | entire gallery can be found here