I fell in love with great food and hospitality in my late teens. Think “La dolce vida”. Envision happy families gathered around the table, or that stellar “bucket list” event you’ll never forget (one of mine was in London, Mayfair to be exact!). If you’re lucky you’ve had that a-ha moment when it all come together- the food, the beverages, the people, and of course the places. You know it when you’re there and these moments can often correlate with the changing of the seasons.
This months’ post has me reflecting on visible change outside my office window- Mother nature has initiated the most wonderful enhancements to our New England landscape, which in turn help shape NEW direction for the client events I manage. Grill & sauté techniques are giving way to roasting & braises, and I’m working darker spirits and heartier ales into the mix too. Clients are continuing to opt for more casual, non-traditional hospitality venues providing planners more latitude to design the entertainment, food and beverage components of these events. This trend challenges me to “poke the box” on new combinations, cooking methods & service techniques.
Recently my good friend and latest culinary inspiration John Lloyd, has been channeling his inner Francis Mallmann, flexing open fire cooking techniques with classical European & Middle Eastern flavor combinations. See: Mallmann Youtube. From South American gaucho-style grilling, to classic southern BBQ, to oysters seared in flaming hot beef tallow, John is exciting the senses and the palette. John’s pursuits in these areas highlight a few key elements that contribute to a GREAT hospitality experience:
#1) QUALITY is the key- Helping your clients correlate cost, quality & value is mission critical. If they can’t justify your offer emotionally and then logically, they will go elsewhere. Your product or service needs to be GREAT.
#2) Partner with unique, high quality & relate-able brands. Hospitality programs need to be shared across multiple social media platforms. Perception is reality, like it or not. Tell the story.
#3) Tailored experiences- target demographic traits when you design food, beverage and event offers. Need states differ with Boomer, Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z. Be flexible. Here's a photo of a recent open fire cooking event hosted just last weekend! 60-pound whole animal roast & a salt baked striped bass right out of Long Island sound. Very cool, and a very interactive way to engage clients.
Only the lucky few get to practice their art, their craft, every day and call it work. I’m feeling just that lucky right now!
What’s next you ask?
I’m excited to be collaborating with local CT farmer Whitney Freeman on Nov 2nd @ Henny Penny Farm. She will be sharing here passion for agriculture and our food system with educational workshops as I host a Fall food and beverage demo with products sourced from the property. Can’t wait!