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Announcing the 2023 Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence (CATIE) Awards Finalists

Drum roll… The International Caterers Association (ICA) is proud to present the 2023 Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence (CATIE) Awards finalists! Each year, passionate and talented caterers from around the globe enter the CATIE awards, showcasing their creative spirit and submitting their most innovative plates in a variety of categories. Finalists are chosen, which is always a difficult feat, and then winners are announced during the beloved Catersource + The Special Event.

Best Appetizer Finalists 

Catering by Design (CO), “Rice + Eggs” 

Synopsis: Catering by Design sponsored a panel discussion for 200 event professionals at a hotel and was given the opportunity to provide a small bite to the attendees. The team needed to WOW the guests, not only with a bite packed full of flavor but something visually appealing as well. They also only had a short window of about 10 minutes to serve this bite to all guests in the room as they broke in between panel sessions.

Footers Catering, “Torched Avocado Toast” 

Synopsis: As guests were seated for an elegant spring brunch, they were greeted with a playful pre-set appetizer course from Footers Catering. Curious individual white boxes lay atop elegant place settings, and guests opened them to reveal a smiling message. The first course inside was a fresh and bright avocado toast with blue crab salad, lemon ricotta and colorful edible flowers to kick off a celebratory multi-course brunch. 

Best Buffet or Action Station Finalists 

Catering by Design (CO), “Grow” 

Synopsis: Catering by Design created a whimsical action station to highlight the innovation of their team while incorporating theatrics and showmanship. The start to finish steps of this station drew the guests in to play a role in the story, offering guests dinner AND a show. The Catering by Design team placed a variety of playful seed packets (tuna, pear or prawn “seeds”) that hung on a gold hexagonal frame. Guests chose a packet and handed it to a gardener to plant and water, then up sprouted a savory dish!

Contemporary Catering, “Interactive Salad Wall” 

Synopsis: Ever eaten salad off a WALL? The designers at Contemporary Catering custom fabricated a wall with individual slats, in which salad plates with whole constructed salads were placed. Guests were able to approach the installation and pick their salad plate right out of the wall!

Footers Catering, “Post-Apocalyptic Ration Wall” 

Synopsis: The year is 2142. The world is in shambles. Inside an abandoned warehouse, a community of 250 raucous survivors ration what they can to live another day. Past the waste and behind a hedge, volunteer chefs scavenge anything they can find to create surprisingly tasty meals, portioned in reused aluminum cans. To ensure a riot doesn’t break out, famished inhabitants must daringly and trustingly reach their hand through the hedge wall to receive their ration. Welcome to the apocalypse.

Best Catered Event Finalists 

24 Carrots, “Pacific Symphony Gala – Fandango! Alta California" 

Synopsis: Producing high-level events for long-standing clients is always an honor, but when the theme paid homage to California, it was especially exciting for the 24 Carrots team. The hosts of this prestigious event, known to have enormous trust and high expectations for the planners and chefs at 24 Carrots, asked them to collaborate on their annual fundraising gala: Fandango! Alta California. Using elements of design, event production, and California inspiration, guests were transported to an immersive, authentic experience that celebrated the history and culture of the state. 

Footers Catering, "Premier Night" 

Synopsis: Following an all-day conference, 350 guests were invited to a historic industrial building to be immersed in pop art for an epic celebration. Two floors were brought to life with bold colors, life-size graphics, and playful humor to match the art style. Immersive menu installations transformed food into 3D entertainment, from raining charcuterie to sliding sliders. No detail was left un-“popped” for an incredible experience that kept guests dancing and eating until midnight.

LUX Catering & Events, "La Caille Tasting" 

Synopsis: A culinary experience designed to excite the senses and transform the palette. LUX created a VIP experience to tour guests through the venue, each room offering a new experience crafted to ignite a different sense—olfactory, visual, touch, or taste. The client gave LUX Catering free reign to excite their senses and wanted the entire event to be a surprise, so that's what the team delivered! Each venue space featured either an hors d'oeuvre, action station, or beverage to enjoy. LUX’s expertly trained chefs introduced each experience and item to the guests before they sampled it so that they could fully understand what sense they were going to delight with that item. This event was designed to immerse guests in a high-end and unique journey, all brought to them by custom culinary experiences.

Best Catered Wedding Finalists 

Catering by Design (CO), "French Provincial Getaway" 

Synopsis: Catering by Design knew they were in for something special with Sarah and Jack’s French provincial-inspired wedding. This showstopping wedding included a lush, flower-filled wonderland, romantic accents and details, an extensive variety of food, and an award-winning vendor team. The goal was to create a fresh, unique menu that matched the overall elegance and luxury of the entire weekend to create a seamless experience full of wonder and delight.

Fort Belanger, "Lakefront Love" 

Synopsis: Those leisurely days on the water followed by cool, lake nights watching from the dock as the sun slips behind the trees. The summertime weather, when living is easy. That’s what Fort Belanger’s Detroit-based couple sought to channel for their high-end, four-day wedding weekend at the bride’s family’s lake house and nearby Bay Harbor. The northern Michigan paradise the bride grew up enjoying had become her and her groom’s sacred space, and they knew they wanted to celebrate their big day there surrounded by family and friends. The team was elated to help make it happen and witness the 245 wedding guests fall for the dreamy setting, from a rehearsal dinner flotilla to the farewell Sunday brunch.

Simply Fresh Events, "Ringing in the New Year" 

Synopsis: Upon entering the venue, 102 guests were entertained by pieces played on the gold gilt antique Steinway piano as they proceeded up the marble split staircase and into the Grand Salon for the ceremony. After the ceremeony, the couple greeted guests as they proceeded to cocktail hour in the Petit Salon. Besides the usual bar and appetizers, a traditional Cookie Table was laid out with contributions from the bride and groom’s family and friends, a nod to the bride’s Pittsburgh roots. The rest of the evening’s catering menu focused on the bride's youth in Pittsburgh, Polish background, and the groom's pescatarian diet. The menu was carefully constructed to reflect their family history. The couple also combined their new home, Washington D.C. with some of its local favorites to the menu. 

Best Small Plate Finalists

CBK Catering & Events, "Taste of Tampa – Lechon Asado" 

Synopsis: The concept for this event was to let the “Taste of Tampa” shine through in all of the dishes. This small plate of lechon asado was especially fitting as a classic Cuban favorite. The goal was to create a unique presentation, delicious flavor and a mix of classic components with CBK Catering’s innovative approach. The dish was a huge success that was loved by all of the guests.

Colette's Catering and Events, "Garden Party Elopement" 

Synopsis: Inspired by the joy of outdoor gatherings, colorful refreshments, and vibrant bites that people love to graze on, the team at Colette’s Catering and Events envisioned a spread that would let guests curate their own plate in a fun and breezy setting so they’d feel at ease to sit back, relax, and socialize. The chefs leaned into flavors and hues that could be adaptable for each season, creating a versatile, evergreen concept perfect for cocktail hours, wedding receptions, birthdays, and more.

Caterer of the Year Finalists

LUX Catering & Events, Salt Lake City, Utah 

LUX is a family of designers, artisans, and epicureans with a lifetime of combined expertise. Founded in 1995, LUX is built on passion and an unwavering commitment to excellence. The entire team is obsessed with innovation and pushing boundaries. 

Their stellar reputation is based on their commitment to creating exceptional events and memorable experiences. LUX’s team is a hardworking, knowledgeable, and award-winning group of chefs, planners, and more. They listen and strive to be the ideal partner in creating an impactful event to stun guests. LUX will take a boutique approach to event production, including creating customized menus featuring the freshest of ingredients. They make their clients’ dreams come to life by forming a partnership and consistently collaborating with them each and every step of the way. Because of this drive, LUX Catering is able to produce outstanding events.

As they’ve grown into an award-winning industry leader, LUX has stayed true to their values. Everything they do centers around a passion for bringing people together and creating unforgettable memories. LUX is Utah’s most award-winning and highest-rated catering and event company.

Vicky Crease Catering + Events, Johannesburg, South Africa 

Vicky Crease Catering + Events is a premier catering and event design company for some of the largest and most prestigious events in the world. With a passion for exquisite entertaining, education to professional service and over 28 years of culinary experience, the Vicky Crease team boasts some of the world’s leading event experts.

Their catering service is available for a diverse range of events, from iconic corporate productions and spectacular, bountiful weddings to major social events. The team will work closely with clients to ensure that their signature occasion is handled with professionalism, creativity, and expertise.

All 2023 ICA CATIE Award winners will be announced at Catersource + The Special Event during the Industry Awards Celebration on Thursday, March 30th from 5:30 p.m. to-7:00 p.m. ET at the Orange County Convention Center. Join us to celebrate all of these finalists!  

International Caterers Association

For motivated caterers, International Caterers Association is a resource that provides Education, encourages peer to peer Relationships and Inspires creativity while embracing all segments of the catering industry. For more information, visit