Feb 12, 2013 Choosing the Right Menu and Corporate Event Planning
In our last blog, we discussed how table settings can impact your goals and the atmosphere at your corporate event. When corporate event planning, the menu you choose can do the same, especially when designed around building a “sense of place.”
At a recent corporate event we managed on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, our goal was to create a relationship-building atmosphere for some very elite guests. We worked in tandem with Executive Chef Brendon Bashford of The Sanctuary, to design a culinary experience that married his exceptional talent with our deep understanding of the high profile clientele.
Here are a few of Chef’s insights:
“When considering menus/experiences for your attendees, the first thing that my team took into consideration was that the attendees were all world travelers with global influences and that they were all traveling to “The Sanctuary.” We really wanted to convey an approachable, understated, southern cuisine with a few outside influences, such as Australia. These considerations were stretched out over the full two days of the program. All the breaks had different themes that spoke to either a Southern experience, an Asian experience, or a more formal experience.
“The reasons we use local seasonal ingredients here at The Sanctuary are many. First, being located mostly within 20 miles of us, when the ingredients arrive, they are still alive; most were harvested the day of the event. We forge relationships with local purveyors and are heartened by the sense of pride they all possess. We foster these relationships, so The Sanctuary is afforded the best of the local bounty. We also use these relationships in educating the team by taking fieldtrips. Seasonality is a challenge for the culinary team, as we have to respect and use what is here now.
“Even now, when chefs are considered ‘rock stars,’ we at The Sanctuary believe it goes a lot deeper than that. Most chefs are influenced by their mother and want to harken back to a time with their mother in that ‘Sanctuary’. This is where the initial love for not only the cuisine but the sense of family is developed. If we can take all of your attendees back to that time, there is no greater feeling or reward for us.”
We so appreciated Chef Bashford’s enthusiasm and talent, resulting in the most innovative and delicious menus.
Here’s our advice: When planning guests’ culinary experiences for your next event, don’t accept the standard banquet menus as the only option! Reach out to the culinary team – get them out of the kitchen and into your planning sessions! Find out what they are excited about and engage them in the process. The results will yield a dining experience that marries your culinary team’s talent with the best of the local and seasonal offerings.
In our next blog, we’ll discuss how the subtle language of flowers can help set the atmosphere at a corporate or special event.
Mary Sullivan is the Executive Producer at Wilsonwest and Ken Swyt is the Creative Director.