Idea Book: Blue Plate Catering, ACE Winner, Catering East, Over $2 Million

The Achievement in Catering & Events (ACE) awards honor those who have worked tirelessly to keep their clients thrilled and their companies on the cutting edge. Each year, caterers and event planners from around the globe submit their best work from the past year in hopes of being recognized as the best in the industry. Catersource’s annual awards show, also including the ICA CATIE awards, took place in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace on February 19, 2018.

Each company submitted two events for ACE consideration. Here is a look at the two events that elevated a win for Blue Plate Catering in the category of Catering East, Over $2 million in revenue.

ONE: Skadden Arps Corporate Event at the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center

Executing restaurant-style food is always a challenge in off-premise catering, but when the venue limits your cooking ability—in this case, not allowing for open flame or Sternos—it creates another layer of challenge for the culinary and service team, said Brandy Gonsoulin, Brand Manager for Blue Plate. “Without having a functioning kitchen space, we adapted by using small electric ovens and burners during service.

Chef Paul Larson (right)

“The true challenge, however, lay in the extremely limited amounts of fuses and outlets. We solved for this by using plenty of extension cords to pull off service. In the end, our collaboration and teamwork still seamlessly pulled off the event.”

Passed appetizers included this Tuscan Kale Cup, a crispy kale cup filled with whipped goat cheese, preserved lemon, and red quinoa

Pistachio Meringue Pavlova passed appetizer with roasted beets, lemon infused Greek yogurt, and snipped chives

Mesclun Greens with pumpkin brittle, pecans, dried apricots, chives, and brown butter vinaigrette

Pan Roasted Atlantic Salmon with red Swiss chard, herb roasted fingerling potatoes, crisp shallots, and mustard seed caviar veal reduction

Hickory Smoked Filet of Beef with bone marrow butter, Vidalia onion puree, creamy polenta, pesto crushed fava beans, sous vide carrots, and bordelaise

Dessert duo included Mini Take Five and a mini vanilla crème brulée

Interested in submitting an entry for the 2019 awards season? Stay tuned for details on the 2019 award program, opening in Q3. Click here for the latest information on the 2019 conference & tradeshow.

TWO: A Midsummer’s Night Dream with Celebrity Designer Jason Wu

The GREY Jason Wu Dinner Series is an extension of Jason Wu’s passion for home entertaining and cooking, so it was important to his team that the evening feel intimate and interactive, said Brandy Gonsoulin. This event was only hosted in a few hand-picked cities and Jason wanted to be at one of the up-and-coming venues (Blue Plate’s Larkin Hall) so the bar was set high for the company to create an unforgettable experience.

Tableset for Jason Wu event

“Since the event was held in honor of the fall clothing line launch at Nordstrom, we also had to collaborate with Jason's design team and the Nordstrom marketing team to integrate fashion and design into the experience,” said Gonsoulin.

This event was a true culinary show. For the five-course dinner, executive chef Paul Larson curated a completely custom, seasonal menu that incorporated both interactive and unique elements throughout.

Dinner began with an unexpected “Peas and Carrots” amuse bouche, an heirloom carrot gelato with cracked freeze-dried peas served vertically in a bed of wheatgrass, followed by a Strawberry Gazpacho poured table-side.

For the second course of Pan Roasted Skate, guests were treated to an unexpected element of interactivity as the house-made “brown butter candle”—moonlighting as a part of the decor—was then used as the sauce to complete the course.

The evening was punctuated by a Hot Chocolate Dome, melted by a warm drizzle to reveal hidden components: warm salted caramel brownie, buttered popcorn ice cream, and chocolate covered popcorn

Click here for information about Catersource and the Art of Catering Food 2019.

Kathleen Stoehr

Kathleen Stoehr is the Director of Community & Content Strategy for Catersource, which includes print and digital content, as well as live education at both Catersource, the Art of Catering Food, and Leading Caterers of America Executive Summit.