Idea Book: John Serock Catering, ACE finalist, Catering East, Under 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 John Serock Catering in the category of Catering East, Under 2 Million in revenue.

Photos courtesy of the caterer.

ONE: Moonlight in Morocco

For the last five years John Serock Catering company has worked with The Brandywine Health Foundation for their annual appreciation event for their donors and volunteers, offering everything from A Night in Venice to BBQ & Blues. “It's a well-attended event with over 500 VIP guests who have come to expect a culinary trip around the globe, which can provide many challenges and opportunities,” says John Serock. “This year our challenge was Moonlight in Morocco, and we knew instantly we had to knock this event out of the park and give the guests an experience they wouldn't soon forget.”

Each member of the sales and culinary team jumped into action to come up with a menu full of beautiful spices and ingredients true to the region, decor that would allow guests to feel that they had transcended to Africa, and staff uniforms to assure the experience felt authentic. 

Moroccan cigars

Maakouda Batata

Traditional Moroccan meals start with seven assorted vegetable salads. The Serock buffet offerings included Roasted pepper, cucumber, and tomato salad; Tabouli; Za’atar spiced roasted zucchini; Couscous with dried apricots, golden raisins, and saffron, among others

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: An Evening of Gratitude

If your idea of a perfect event includes an intimate gathering of friends for an amazing dinner in the middle of a farm with entertainment provided by a Grammy award winning artist, then you will understand why John Serock Catering was so eager to take on this job. “This year our longtime clients, Bob and Jennifer, presented us with an opportunity of a lifetime: a private dinner affair for 120 of their closest family and friends with entertainment provided by Jennifer Nettles,” said John Serock.

The opportunities and challenges presented themselves very quickly with a high-profile event of this nature, noted Serock:

• Building an event space fit for a Grammy winning artist in the middle of a farm in Pennsylvania

• Preparing a menu of mostly locally sourced food with emphasis on dairy and gluten free items as requested by our clients, and

• Working alongside professional musicians and dealing with their riders and production crews. 

“While our team has built many kitchens in the middle of nowhere, and produced what we like to think is Grammy winning plates of food prepared by our talented chefs, we have never worked with an artist and their production crews,” said Serock. “It was quite difficult feeling as though we were working for two clients that evening; the talent and the host.”

The stage, kitchen, and dining tent set up

The salad course included sliced and cherry heirloom tomatoes, baby arugula, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and balsamic basil drizzle served with assorted LeBus dinner rolls and herbed oil for dipping 

Vegetable platters were served at room temperature, family style, and included haricot vert, snap peas, cranberry beans, caramelized shallot vinaigrette, grilled zucchini, charred corn, and roasted suntan peppers

A variety of desserts, including this gluten-free chocolate peanut butter mousse parfait were served

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.