How to Put On a Foodie-Friendly Event

Three tips learned from the top food festivals

Warmer weather and tasty treats will inevitably draw thousands to annual food festivals this spring, including events like The Taste of HK, Singapore World Gourmet Summit and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. (Fun fact: The Taste of HK festival showcased two Marriott hotel restaurants in its lineup last year with demonstrations by some of our top chefs.) And because these festivals feature such a diverse swath of cuisines, you're likely to discover fresh trends and tastes that can help you brainstorm ideas that entertain and intrigue your food-loving attendees. Can't make it out to the festivities this year? Don't worry, here's some inspiration from our favorites. 

Curate Your Concept

Determine the best theme for your event to help keep your planning on point. A central focus for a catering theme can help you better cultivate your menu and tailor its marketing prior to the event. When creating a concept, opt for something exciting with multiple dish opportunities so you can have flexibility with options. Your theme could range from a specific region to simply a special set of ingredients.

Lean On Your Locals

If your city is known for its foodie subculture, don't hesitate to take advantage! The trend of local and farm-to-table culinary styles helps guests feel connected to the community and delighted by stories behind the seasonal fruits, vegetables, dairy, alcohol or meats featured in their tasty dishes.

To switch up the menu, put a new twist on a beloved community dish or consider an after-hours off-site gathering at a beloved community bar. At the meeting venue, serve local wines or regional craft beer. 

Offer More Than Just Treats

Of course, food events are only as good as their menu … but there's no reason to end there. Create a comprehensive, unforgettable experience with a "hybrid event" that offers your foodies more than a quick munch. During a longer, multiday event, consider hosting one gathering at an art gallery, museum or garden. Invite a local guest chef for a live demo, cooking lessons, onstage interviews or a rousing competition. On a larger scale, consider organizing a festival or carnival-style event, fit with games, live music and photo booths for your foodies to explore in addition to your food spread. At the end of the event, slip your guests a sweet treat or a goody bag as a thoughtful memento. Add a personalized note or a calling card to remind them of the good times!

Putting on a foodie-friendly event means more than just an enticing spread. There's always much more to explore when curating the perfect sensory feast for your foodie audience. With a little time, patience and research into the right trends and local culture, you'll have an event sure to delight even the most finicky of taste buds.