Idea Book: 2018 ACE Winner, Santa Barbara Catering

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 Santa Barbara Catering in the category of Catering – West Over $2 Million in revenue.

ONE: Global Launches with Futuristic Tastes

The evening set up

When the opportunity for a three-day corporate brand launch conference arose, the team from Santa Barbara Catering came together to conceptualize a culmination of events that was the crescendo for a series of guest celebrations. There were four scheduled events that needed to be distinctly different from the other, and it gave the design team a chance to develop event concepts that would transform the venue space while making the food the main highlight of the event.

The client requested a menu that represented the future; a take on the celebration and theme of the event,” said Ashley Oakes Scott, Director of Marketing. “Our chefs have previously executed dishes using molecular gastronomy, liquid nitrogen, and other techniques, but not for an entire menu. The kitchen practiced for several months to learn new equipment, research methods, and test to perfect the modern and futuristic techniques being used in the food that is normally executed in a fine dining restaurant.

“These concepts had to be restaurant quality, but also be executed on a mass scale for hundreds of guests. This learning experience was not typical for our kitchen and required a superior amount of time than an average event,” she added.

Beyond the exquisite food, event set up was a monster to accomplish as it needed to be done in complete silence. This meant hand carrying items that typically would have been rolled or wheeled in, and also included having to hand push an Airstream into the event space versus drive. Whew!

Photos courtesy Matt Petit

This beautifully designed decor table is also the final touches of dessert. Succulents and mossy "cakes" served with chocolate rocks, cotton candy Trees. Built into a succulent garden cake on a bed of chocolate cookie soil

Chocolate dipped bananas with walnut, sprinkles, caramel, sea salt

Mozzarella balloons with tomato pearls and olive oil dust

S’mores: start with chocolate domes, homemade flavored marshmallows in cajeta, ancho and almond. Caramel sauté, rum flambé, and cinnamon dust

Edible taffy balloons filled with helium

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: Enchanted Wedding in the Woods

“This three-day out-of-town wedding celebration showcased the style, creativity, and innovation that Santa Barbara Catering exudes,” said Ashley Oakes Scott, Director of Marketing. “However, there were definitely some challenges. The venue was three hours away from SBC headquarters, and there were no close stores if anything was to be needed last minute. The team brought everything to the site including power, ice, lighting, and ovens.”

Entrance to the rehearsal

Located in the client’s home in northern Arizona, the kitchens for the event has to be built on either side of the home, which meant that staff had to hike up and down hills from one kitchen to the other. Add to the mix a non-functioning oven and new employees (due to the size of the wedding and required staff to execute the event), and you have a recipe that could be disastrous. Yet, SBC handled everything with ease. “The wedding itself was one of the most beautiful Arizona weddings that our team has had a chance to work on,” said Oakes Scott.

Photos courtesy Eyes2See

Assorted gourmet French dessert minis included vanilla bean crème brûlée tarts, french macaron fruit tarts, mini crème brûlées, chocolate ganache bites, assorted cheese cake bites, housemade truffles

The beautifully appointed head table

An ultimate noshing station included fromage and charcuterie accented with flat bread, lavosh, dates, almonds and more

The wedding reception

Mason jar pie wall

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.