My Challenge: Enchant Foodies with a New Level of Farm-to-Table
Goal: Wow Tough Foodies at the Horticultural Oscars
The Garden Media Guild Awards are considered the horticultural Oscars—for publishers, broadcasters, journalists, authors and photographers working in the gardening media market.
The clients had never been to the hotel before, so we took them on a tour, and we introduced them to Executive Chef Jamie Welch. He mentioned he loved working with local produce, and they were so happy because their attendees really appreciate where food comes from. They didn’t want an ordinary awards ceremony. In fact, they didn’t tell us exactly what they wanted. They simply said, “Wow us.”
Here they were, four food experts, and they had never seen anything like this before.
Food So Local, the Clients Were Speechless
We knew food was really important to them. We met internally to figure out how to tap into the local producers. Chef created an amazing tasting menu and a special cocktail called “The Secret Garden” for the client to sample before the event. Then, on top of that, we came up with an extra surprise for them.
The chef contacted all his suppliers, learned the farms where the produce grew, looked the information up on Google Maps and included the farm-to-plate mileage for each item on the pre-event menu. The Rosary Goats Cheese traveled 87 miles; the onions came from 86 miles away. Here they were, four food experts, and they had never seen anything like this. They were speechless.
Enchanted Garden Theme
We also worked with the client to come up with a distinct and beautiful room. They provided the plants and centerpieces. Working with our onsite AV company, Eclipse Presentations, we created a bespoke set with a enchanted-garden theme including plants, flowers and trellises, which were highlighted by green stage lighting.
There were 320 people for the seated luncheon before the awards, and we had the farm-to-table miles on the menu again. Chef created a dessert called Mint Truffle, Liquid Centre, with a leaf made from sugar replicating the company logo. The client was delighted and couldn’t have been happier.
Free Rein to Be Creative
In 10 years of events, I’ve never had another client say, “Wow me.” Usually, the clients know what they want or have some ideas they want brought to life. Think about a wedding—the bride knows exactly how she wants her wedding. But this time, the client gave us free rein to be creative. We involved everyone in the hotel to create something from nothing. This is what I love about event management—putting together all the different parts to create a success. It was brilliant.