Last year’s Art of Catering Food conference in Denver was almost a full year ago — it’s hard to believe. And, as the editor of Catersource, I’m still finding a wealth of information from last year’s conference that we haven’t been able to cover in the pages of the magazine or even in our social media content. There were just so many ideasthat I’m still digging through and finding great ones. I wanted to highlight and revisit these six showstoppers that really made our tastebuds tingle and our eye pop with admiration in 2012.
Torched meat station from Culinary Crafts
1. What better to add to the heat of a summer barbecue than a little bit of fire? The Culinary Crafts team broke out the butane torches and set to a phenomenal presentation that had attendees gasping with delight. Although the torched meats were finished before the event, the finishing “torches,” if you’ll pardon the pun, gave ordinary barbecue a nice crisp exterior and created a huge draw for event guests. This photo from their presentation was accompanied live at the show by a demonstration and step-by-step instructions on how they put this station together. What chef doesn’t love to play with fire in front of an audience? It’s a chef station that doesn’t require too much convincing to sell.
The excitement is palpable down the long hallways of the Mirage: Catersource has begun.
Attendees hovered around Show Guides and planned out their days, trickling into the opening sessions and then hitting the Conference with a Big Bang right at noon. We heard about Haute Food Trends (oats, anyone?) and the keys to retaining Rock Star Staff (comp time to counteract long days).
Vigorously taking notes at sessions and making new friends, most attendees revved up throughout the day. A session on company culture from Footers Catering in Denver, CO was packed to the brim as Anthony Lambatos and Colbert Callen shared their tales of awesomeness. In fact, many of the sessions that attracted large numbers of attendees were operations- and staff-focused. We haven’t written about staff culture recently in Catersource, but the Conference trends make me think that it’s something worth addressing.
I also met caterers of all stripes: those from military facilities, several from hotels around the globe, off-premise, educators, students, restaurants with a catering division… all come together to learn from each other and from the pros.
The day culminated with two intensely cool social events: the Into the Wild party in the Attendee Lounge and the Welcome Reception by the pool. Sponsors WNA and Tablecraft provided fantastic disposables and buffetware (respectively) We chatted, shared experiences and wound down. I got tons of ideas for the magazine today; here’s hoping you gained just as many for your business.
You will see a coffee shop right before the conference area. Don’t worry! This is not the only place to get coffee. We will have morning refreshments for you in the Events Center, so you don’t need to stand in line to get your buzz.
Be sure to pick up a Show Guide and an Addendum with some important schedule changes.
In addition to sessions, there are two Included Events today:
Into the Wild Happy Hour in the Attendee Lounge, sponsored by CORT
We leave for Vegas in four days, which means I’ve been putting together a lot of content to prep for the show. We’re very excited for all we have to offer at Catersource this year. Our minds are swimming with all that’s going to be happening over the next two weeks.
Creative Director Jean Blackmer and I put the Show Guide together with the help of our awesome Catersource team.
One addition to my Catersource life in the past few months has been my lovely little iPad mini. As I move into our digital world– albeit somewhat reluctantly, since I think I’m the only Millennial who still prefers a phone call over a text– I’ve discovered a lot of different apps to help me get through my business travels. The following might help you in your trip to the 2013 Catersource Conference & Tradeshow in Vegas.
A note: Most of these are free or inexpensive. I’m assuming they are available in some form or another in Android, but I’m not entirely positive. Leave a note in the comments if you can’t find one.
Catersource and our sister magazine, Event Solutions, won a whopping total of 10 awards at the Minnesota Magazine Publishing Association’s Excellence awards on November 3.
Minnesota has a large, thriving magazine publishing community– home of huge local glossies as well as national heavy hitters like Exhibitor and American Craft– and we were excited to be honored for design, content and overall excellence. You could even say that we cleaned up in the Business/Trade under 30,000 category.