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CS Spotlight: Meet Tracy Stuckrath

The Dietary Needs Expert. Meetings Industry Changemaker. Certified Special Events Professional. Tracy Stuckrath brings passion for safe and inclusive F&B, expertise through research and analysis, and real-world strategies to help clients establish best practices, mitigate risk, improve experiences, and increase profit with the F&B they serve. Founder of thrive! meetings & events, Tracy has had a 29-year career as an event professional. After being diagnosed with a food allergy, she changed the trajectory of her career in 2009. She works with organizations to understand how to create F&B events that deliver experiences where everyone feels valued. Every guest matters. Every meal matters.

See Stuckrath during any of her sessions during Catersource + The Special Events this May in Anaheim. 

Food Rules: The Legalities of Feeding Everyone

4:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 4

Would you consider eating, drinking, and breathing as fundamental requirements for life — major life activities? Well, yeah. We all must eat and drink to survive.

It makes sense then that the Americans with Disabilities Act considers them as major life activities and views people who must eat a specific way / avoid eating specific foods because they have a life-threatening food allergy, celiac disease, and/or diabetes, as persons with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else to eat at an event.

Add to that the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Act, state food allergy regulations, FASTER Act and stock epinephrine recommendations.

In this session, we will address questions such as: To whom do I owe a legal duty of care? Am I meeting it? What is the risk for failing to do so? We will also look at the benefits and opportunities that come with not only following the law, but knowing how to feed guests with food allergies and other dietary needs.


DE&I: What Does F&B Have to Do With It?

11:15 a.m. Tuesday, May 3

Every good catering/event professional knows to plan around food allergies and dietary restrictions when designing menus. It's good business, but it's also a means to providing an equitable and inclusive dining experience. Even when this is done well, how inclusive is the rest of the experience? It's not just about what's on the plate, but how guests get to the plate.

Catering/event professionals must regard diversity, equity, and inclusion as a strategic and logistical approach in the planning process and should consider all facets of the event, including the food and beverage being served.

In this session, we will address questions such as: What is and how do I design menus that are equitable and inclusive? What other design elements need to be considered? What is the risk for failing to create such events? We will also learn how and why to create more inclusive food and beverage environments, manage for diversity, and capitalize on the unique perspectives of a diverse participant base.


1 + 1 = 4? (Adding Food Safety to the Customer Experience Can Enhance Your Bottom Line)

8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 3

Co-presenting with Bob Pacanovsky (Chief Hospitality Officer, Black Tie Experience)

Does 1 + 1 = 4? In this seminar, it does.

All of us talk about the importance of creating a wonderful Customer/Guest Service Experience, but how many of us implement it?

All of us also talk about the importance of Food Safety/Allergies, but how many have created a program that focuses on training in food safety, as this ties directly into creating a top-notch guest experience.

When you combine Food Safety with Customer Service you:

  • Empower your staff with the knowledge of food safety, food allergies, to enhance the guest experience
  • Show that by promoting Food Safety, you care about the entire experience for your guests
  • Separate yourself from your competition
  • Make that personal and emotional connection with them by utilizing empathy, respect, kindness, and more to make them feel more valued and appreciated as a guest
  • Create Standards of Excellence in both these areas that can be implemented and practiced by your staff so that they can become more engaged in providing a memorable guest experience

See you in Anaheim! 


Catersource includes an annual conference, tradeshow and magazine, online presence, e-newsletters, the Art of Catering Food conference, and Leading Caterers of America Executive Summit. Click here for conference information. Click here to sign up for any of our free e-news products or the quarterly issue of Catersource magazine.