As 2021 came to a close and the events and catering world felt, well, a world apart from previous years, the industry’s top caterers still created magical events. When we received their CATIE award submissions, we knew it would be a tough selection process as these events were spectacular! Just take a look for yourself. Without further ado, we give you the 2022 CATIE award winners:
Best Buffet or Action Station
"Cool Car Concept" by Thomas Caterers of Distinction
From the moment they entered, the guests knew they were witnessing something special. They came to see the new concept car from a world-renowned auto manufacturer, but what they experienced was a whole lot more. Thomas Caterers of Distinction partnered with a distinguished Italian catering company to bring authentic Italian cuisine to this event. A mixture of experiential food stations and small plates were passed by sharply dressed staff with hawker boxes full of delicious items. All of this ensured that the goal of the event was not only met but exceeded: to reveal the company’s new concept car and show the attendees a good time while doing it. Guests came for the car, but they stayed for the food. Like a fine sports car, the food was hot, fresh, greatly anticipated and went fast.
Best Catered Event
"Age of Aquarius" by Catering by Design (CO)
A star-studded, world-traveled guest list attended this annual gala in Aspen set to a fabulous ‘60s/‘70s flower child backdrop. The gala was themed with the Age of Aquarius and was planned in just over two months due to the ongoing pandemic. This theme truly reflects the client’s desire of making and living in a better world while also showcasing a carefree, zany attitude and the hopefulness of a new dawn. Catering by Design took those themes and interwove the colors and four signs of the zodiac—Water, Fire, Air and Earth—to create food stations and hors d’oeuvres for the cocktail hour. They sourced seasonal ingredients that tied together color themes from the overall event, including pops of oranges, greens, yellows and reds, and truly brought to life A Fabulous Feast of Rebirth and Renewal, which was the theme of the dinner.
Best Catered Wedding
"Pastoral Paradise" by The JDK Group
Kaitlan and Caleb’s wedding weekend centered around the desire to create a welcoming, high-end experience for this well-traveled couple and their international guests. The client’s picturesque, 100-acre equestrian estate was the perfect backdrop for this destination-inspired wedding. With just under nine months to plan amid a global pandemic, The JDK Group’s entire organization, from sales and culinary to floral design and operations, collaborated closely to create a celebration flow that included four separate event spaces across the estate. Every location and time frame featured a different menu showcasing diverse flavor profiles. Their goal was to leave guests wonderstruck, happily full and jaw-dropped. And they met their goal!
Best Catering for a Micro Event
"Intimate Chic Industrial Wedding" by Dish Food and Events
Micro weddings are exciting, intimate and create a feeling of closeness among attendees. When Dish Food and Events were tasked with creating a catering menu for Dylan and Warner’s small micro-wedding, they knew they must ensure that guests felt indulged and cared for. Their stunningly simple wedding with clean, bright tones of white, black and green was accented by bright colors and flavors on the menu. Heralding from the American South and the Caribbean, the couple wanted their food to reflect their backgrounds and the unique setting at The Foundry. Menu items included Caribbean Chicken, Fried Chicken & Waffle Cones, Jamaican Spice Shrimp Skewers, Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs and SO much more!
“Death by Strawberry Shortcake” by Schaffer
Looking like a scene out of Dexter, Schaffer’s “Death by Strawberry Shortcake” was the perfect ending to the meal served at this high-end murder-mystery Halloween party in the Hollywood Hills. Modern and beautifully shocking, their roasted strawberry sauce was the ideal foil for blood splatter. Created by their executive chef and the pastry department, they used a squeeze bottle to make the perfect splatter look on each of the 75 plates served. This dessert was to die for!
Best Food or Beverage Trend Incorporation
"Bubbles the Deer" by Catering by Design
When launching in a new market, Aspen, CO, the team at Catering by Design wanted to create something with a “WOW” factor and that was more than just passed bubbles for planners in the ultra luxury market. They took this “ordinary” beverage item and presented in a uniquely fashioned way, Bubbles the Deer, who had a spigot in which guests could pour their own bubbly. The deer installation served as an Instagram worthy photo op and a memorable experience for guests. The main goal of this new beverage concept was to show something that had not been done before and to do it their own way!
Chef of the Year
Jay Varga, The JDK Group
Despite living in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze during the past two years, Chef Jay Varga remained resilient in his leadership role earning him the coveted Chef of the Year award. He helped lead the JDK team in developing initiatives and contributing to mitigating company costs, all while creating opportunities to support their team and local community, including:
- A brand new meal delivery product line called JDK at Home.
- The creation of health-conscious weekly menus.
- The production and delivery of daily lunches to over 500 children each day across six different daycare centers.
- Virtual event individual boxed meal catering solutions with delivery, which included charcuterie or hors d’oeuvres blend boxes, custom cupcake jars or tea party brunch boxes.
- A partnership with local purveyors to receive non-shelf-stable food donations that were transformed into free meals for over 500 needy families.
As event restrictions began to lift, Chef Jay developed a full training program and protocol. Through this new initiative, the JDK kitchen operations were adjusted to include additional safety measures, reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 within their commissary and among countless event locations.
And even during the ever-changing landscape of business, Chef Jay was still able to maintain an active role with the International Caterers Association as a member of the Culinary Council and participate in Executive Chef Roundtable discussions. Thank you, Chef Jay, for being a leader in the industry and inspiring us all!
Caterer of the Year
With a history as rich and flavorful as its gourmet creations, Marcia Selden Catering is a family-run group of first-class foodies, servicing New York and Connecticut’s most luxurious events—and it all started in Marcia’s kitchen more than 45 years ago. Now led by Marcia, her daughter Robin and her son Jeffrey, the MSC team comprises culinary gurus and party perfectors who believe the belly rules the mind—and that the best way to kick off a party is to toast over a custom-made cocktail (or several). Whether it’s a low-key clambake or the wedding of the century, MSC creates inclusive, memorable feasts for any celebration, matched with polished, personalized service that makes everyone feel like part of the family. Marcia Selden Catering services the bold, the epicurious and anyone looking to commemorate a big day in style, without all the stress. With MSC, everything is always taken care of, always memorable and always a party!
The spirit of the Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence (CATIE) Awards is to recognize achievement of exemplary production at an event.
Awards were presented at the CATIE Awards Celebration during the 2022 Catersource Conference & Tradeshow on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Congratulations to all winners! The catering industry is truly inspired by you all.