Tempe, AZ’s Santa Barbara Catering’s farm-to-table curated market was an ambitious “three complete concepts in three hours” event. Let’s take a look.
The first took place during the traditional “hors d’oeuvres hour” and instead offered guests a curated market featuring handcrafted items from local farmers and artisans. Guests received a custom burlap bag with $25 “farm bucks” inside. They sampled the cuisine and used the farm bucks to buy their favorite items such as popcorn topped with assorted infused salts, olive oils, Arizona pecans made-to-order, and much more.
Takeaway: It seems like everyone wants an interactive event these days, especially when it comes to the food experience. Take interactivity to the next level by adding simple concepts like the “farm bucks.” Do something (simple) that gets guests talking about which food they tried, which they “bought,” and which they liked best.
“Hour two, concept two” offered assorted farm-to-table chef action stations, including a salad wall and picked vegetable display creatively presented on a large crafted wall. Additionally, Santa Barbara Catering chefs cooked up flaming risotto, smoked burrata, sizzling pork belly, and “The Food Bar,” with short ribs, roasted salmon filet, and “the meat shop” porketta on-site.
Takeaway: Farm-to-table has been a culinary trend now for quite some time, but even still, the only way to be truly successful with this theme is to be completely authentic. Be sure to use local vendors and farmers, of course, but also make sure your staff is well educated on the items and the vendors/farmers. Guests will undoubtedly ask for more information about the farmers and vendors, and the more comfortable your staff is speaking about each, the more successful the theme!
The third concept took place in the final hour of the event and was dubbed “The After-Party.” This hour of hosted entertainment included gourmet pizza cooked in a LePenyol wood fire pizza oven, flaming doughnuts, and a dessert station.
Takeaway: Turn a challenge into an opportunity. Twenty-one chef stations certainly posed a challenge. However, the ambitiousness and preparation paid off. Santa Barbara Catering notes that since the event, it has had several clients request the business to host a curated market as a marketing tool for their businesses to promote shopping centers, open houses, grand openings, car dealerships!
Santa Barbara Catering is a proud member of the ICA. To learn more about the ICA, visit www.internationalcaterers.org.