Indian Food

Ok, I am officially Indian fooded out! Looking at using Cafe Bombay in Atlanta for my brother’s retreat in August. The food was very good. The thing I don’ t like about the cuisine is it is starchy very starchy. The don’t believe in a good green salad that is for sure. I wasn’t into their soupy pudding desserts either. I had to pass on that. If I eat one more piece of naan bread though I am going to BUST!!

That is my story for now and I am going to be sticking to it.

Please, No Chocolate Fountains!

Valentine’s Day — Feb. 14 is here (or gone). The day we either love, or hate, or the day we would love to hate. It’s always a bit awkward for planners who have an event falling over Cupid’s holiday. Especially if your attendees are primarily men and the destination is out of town. So what’s a planner to do? I recommend embracing the day with a certain amount of political appropriateness. Even the biggest Scrooge warms to a little lovin’ whether they’ll admit it or not.

Here are some suggestions that I have found successful. These ideas can be used all year long, too. Lean to the “cheeky” side with your fun factor. Make the dessert a bit more special at the primary meal of the day. Example: An ice cream sundae bar with lots of toppings. Display a note letting attendees know you are doing something special for them.

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Banqueting Venue Options – Looking Around

Usually I write my monthly morsel about an experience after it happens.

Today I am writing it at the beginning of an event. A client of mine hired me to do an event in the Washington, D.C.-National Harbor, Md., area. The event instructions were simple: casual get-together with beer and wine for 150 to 200 guests. The food instructions were to purchase what made sense for a limited budget.

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Restaurant Confusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food for thought

I love cliche’s. I think it is because on a culinary perspective it opens up  a door for me to do what I want.  Think about it.

Rub it in – for a bbq station

It’s a wrap on the last day of a conference

Sparkling conversations for a starter of champagne or another sparkling drink

Happy endings for dessert

Spicy – for an Asian station

Waffling around – for a dessert that is inspired by waffle cones and waffles. Served with mini squeeze bottles so people could finish it out themselves.

That is what is on my to do list is to design a menu around cliche’s  – The title of the dinner would be called “A Cheeky Affair”

Then when the course is served it would have what the specifics of the dish are – also part of the take home would be pieces from the evening.

A Success in Switzerland

Back home after 10 very productive days in Switzerland.  My aircraft simulation client told me to knock it out of the park and I have done just that for him.  Was busy with two exhibits and 2 VIP dinners.  Was able to go to the Grizzly and eat twice which is an all time favorite in Geneva.  This summer is exceptionally quiet so I guess I am going to be forced to start working on my bucket list projects.

CAE wanted their exhibit to be more technology forward.  We set up a Technology Station that included 2 large monitors that were flush with the wall and obviously wireless keyboard and mouse. Also we purchased 3 iPads that were attached to bistro tables.  I worked with their web division and we designed a microsite that gave people all the information that they needed for the show.  What surprised me is that people really used the iPads. Much more than our competitors because we had them attached to the tables. Our competition had them on stands using their iPads as product descriptions and this way of displaying it wasn’t user friendly as being on a bistro table where you are sitting down and leisurely going through the information. What I learned is ours is definitely the better way to go. I designed their meeting space using glass tables instead of wood grain tables. They actually didn’t get as messy as I thought they would. And I did the meeting rooms in black instead of wood grain. Although the black shows everything it was more technology forward and we were still able to keep it warm through use of lighting.

For their customer dinner I booked a 5 star hotel’s private dining space.

Amuse – since the company is from Canada

Salmon on Bellini & Smoked Duck Breat with Maple Glaze and Mashed Potato in a Shot Glass

Appetizer – Lobster Spaghetti with Lobster Medallions on a Bed of Lobster Hash Sauteed in a Lemon Grass Sauce

Sorbet – Cherry Sorbet

Entree – Filet Mignon with Micro Garden Veggies

Dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding on a bed Of Roasted Pineapple Mint Salad

Chocolate and Candies Served with Coffee

 

 

Just say no to hotel pricing when…

Usually I write my monthly morsel about an experience after it happens.

Today I am writing it at the beginning of an event. A client of mine hired me to do an event in the Washington, D.C.-National Harbor, Md., area. The event instructions were simple: casual get-together with beer and wine for 150 to 200 guests. The food instructions were to purchase what made sense for a limited budget.

I started at the most obvious starting point — the headquarter hotel. What stopped me where I started was its high pricing and lack of value. Basically they wanted $14 per person for chips, salsa and queso dip. Plus a 24 percent service charge for taking food out of a bag or container, putting it into a bowl and dropping it in a meeting room. The cost of alcohol was equally high. I decided not to do this. I don’t mind paying hotel pricing, but at what point do we as buyers say “not today”?

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F&B shortfalls? You have options

March 2012 morsel
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Loading …Print By Claire R. Gould
Published: March 2, 2012

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Claire R. Gould is the owner of Possibilities Unlimited and Rx for Catering LLC, a full-service culinary and logistics company that works all over the world negotiating and designing menus for meetings and events. Her company has done work for Coca-Cola, IBM, Honeywell and Embraer Executive Jets, among others. Gould teaches and writes about culinary and banquet trends and topics, and publishes a quarterly online newsletter “The Claire Diaries.” Follow her on Twitter @Rx_for_Catering.
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I did some work for a client last month who had a nice-size food & beverage minimum to play with. Or rather I had a rather large-size F&B minimum to play with. We fed and watered the people all day long. All the guests of this high-income group enjoyed themselves very much. No one wanted for anything.

With all of this being said and done, however, at the end of the day WE WERE STILL a couple of thousand dollars short of the minimum. Sally (that’s what we’ll call this client) called me to discuss. She received the invoice and, of course, had to pay the shortfall difference. That wasn’t the issue. The issue is that she was charged tax and service charges on monies that she technically didn’t use. Right or wrong?

You have a couple of options.

This group meets every year at this facility, and the F&B minimum is a nice chunk of change for the day. One option is to pay the extra money and roll it into next year’s contract. If you are a loyal customer, most facilities are willing to do this. Second — and I have done this with many clients — is to make up the difference in alcohol. Even though this is technically in violation of the liquor license, many facilities will do it, and the client will use the bottles of wine to give out to customers throughout the year.

What would you say to Sally in this scenario? She had a lot of coffee breaks on consumption for 800 people throughout the day. She had about 200 no-shows, which must be allowed for in your original figures. We budgeted for the no-shows and that budgeted money is what led to the shortfall.

Back to the original question about tax and service charges on monies not spent. Right or wrong? I don’t have a legal answer on that, and I am investigating. But the correct answer, in my opinion, is that the tax must be paid because the facility is receiving income from you. But nothing was served, so the service charge should be moot.

If any of you find yourselves in this situation make sure you note on the contract that you will pay taxes on attrition but not pay service charges.

That is my story for now, and I am sticking to it.

Join the discussion

Lunch at Wendy’s on Saturday, March 17, 2012

I was at Wendy’s on Saturday and this elderly couple come in to eat. They both had to be in their mid-80’s. The wife say’s I will take my usual and don’t forget my frosty. The husband then proceeds to talk her into trying out a different type of frosty. She says no I want the one I want. He tries again. No go with her. She goes to sit down and he comes back with what he wants her to try instead…. He explains he thinks she will like it – it is good to try something different. I laughed watching this because one side of me thought at her stage of the game let her have what she wants. But the other side of me respected the fact that at his stage of the game he was open to trying something different – the unkown. He loved his wife so much he wanted her to have a different experence and share something new with her. In the end I sided with the sweet old man and give him a bow of respect.

F&B shortfalls? You have options

I did some work for a client last month who had a nice-size food & beverage minimum to play with. Or rather I had a rather large-size F&B minimum to play with. We fed and watered the people all day long. All the guests of this high-income group enjoyed themselves very much. No one wanted for anything.

[Read more…]