You may not remember every detail of the last big event you went to – but odds are good you can remember the food. Whether it’s a wedding, convention or graduation ceremony, event planners need to be sure that what’s served up earns rave reviews – and that takes a little bit of planning.
Test meals are delicious part of putting together your next event. After all, who would say no to the chance to sample the menu created by Executive Chef Serge Belair and our team of 11 Red Seal chefs beforehand?
We like to spice things up.
Banquet clients are invited to the “Chef’s Table” – a chance to taste and select your menu for your event in advance while getting a special look at how we do food at Edmonton’s premier convention centre.
A table with a full white-linen spread will be set up right in the heart of our industrial kitchen, where clients can see the inner workings of a busy kitchen for themselves.
“Clients love that behind the scenes peek,” shares Chef Belair. “They love seeing what goes on in a kitchen of that size. Often, we do a bit of a tour of the kitchen after the test meal, showing off our equipment and introducing our diverse and experience culinary team. Clients can see our service expertise and state of the art equipment in action.”
Meeting the hands that will prepare their meals gives clients a real appreciation for all the care and attention that goes into getting their menu just right.
In turn, it also gives the usually behind-the-scenes chefs a chance to meet those they’re cooking for and shines the spotlight on their hard work – building relationships over time.
Great meals; great company.
The Shaw Conference Centre has an expansive menu – but if you want something a little more custom, you’ll find our award-winning culinary team ready to accommodate.
“We love to be creative and blow our guests away. Clients describe their ideas or preferences, and then based on their budget we work together to make them a reality. Test meals really help us wrap our head around what’s needed,” shares Chef Belair. “They also help us be certain we can deliver those menus for hundreds or even thousands of people.”
When the meals arrive, the fun really begins. Clients are offered a variety of options – three different soups, salads, main courses and desserts make their way to the table, alternating options between the different guests to give everyone a chance for a bite of something different.
“There’s always a lot of sharing and discussion, plate-passing – it can be a bit manic, and it’s always a lot of fun.” shares Chef Belair.
With certified Wine Stewards on staff, the Shaw Conference Centre can also suggest wine pairings with the option to sample sparkling, white and reds to make sure you’ve got the options guests will love. It’s the full-meal-deal, and clients walk away with a full stomach and the confidence that everything will taste great when the big day arrives.
We go beyond the menu.
More than just trying the food, Chef’s Table events give us the chance to dig deeper into your needs and discover the details that will make the day run smoothly.
“We find out why they’re having the event, who their guests might be, what their unique goals are – it’s all about finding ways to enhance their experience,” comments Director of Sales and Client Services, Marnie Gomes. She sees test meals as a catalyst for building better relationships with clients and learning how we can better serve their needs.
“People relax around food; they’re a little less formal. When we’re eating together, we can get more personal – and that’s when you find out the details and information you otherwise may never have heard. You can also set the expectations, so clients know we’ll deliver.”
Next time you’re planning a major banquet event, consider yourself invited to the Chef’s Table – we can’t wait to share a meal!
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