It’s Official: The Season Has Started
With Spring’s arrival, we at Entertaining Company can count on one thing. No, it’s not the budding flowers or the warming temperatures…it’s that what is known as “Event Season” in event circles ramps up officially and our lives, for the next six months will be a flurry of NASA-grade operations and logistics coupled with culinary acrobatics and the occasional need to figure out how to be in two places at the same time.
And, as last weekend came to a close, it was clear to me once again. It’s true. Event Season. It’s here.
A quick review of our first blockbuster weekend of 2011 — April 28 + 29. Prep plus the two days that officially rocked our worlds.
Monday, April 25, 9:23 a.m. Our calm and steady Chef Shawn digs in to the week. He is planning for a culinary marathon . Today his staff is producing boxed lunches for law firms Dowd and Dowd and Quarles and Brady. This is a cake walk. Tomorrow is when the real hurricane hits.
Tuesday, April 26, 1:13 p.m. Our two trucks are pulled into the Entertaining Company dock as our operations team starts carefully and systematically loading up for the evening’s events. We have events for Easter Seals, YWCA and the University of Chicago.
Wednesday, April 27 6:23 p.m. What always makes me laugh (with admiration, mind you,) is when Chef Shawn figures out how to duplicate himself. Did I say duplicate? I meant triplicate! Tonight, he is serving up bite-sized snacks at Saks Fifth Avenue as they launch their new spring line and simultaneously, he is overseeing a get together for Speaker of the House John Boehner. I am thinking about getting Chef Shawn his own personal supply of Red Bull.
Thursday, April 28 2:30 p.m. Today, we have a very complex tasting planned for a food-centric Bride and Groom who are planning a 400-guest vegetarian Thali-Style wedding this Fall. We met this couple through event planner extraordinaire: Marina Birch who is also the Town and Country Magazine Wedding Advisor. And anyone who knows me, knows how obsessed I am with multicultural weddings and how important it is to me that we impress this couple. It’s all on Shawn’s shoulders. And – he completely wows the table. Color me impressed.
While all of this is going on, Shawn and his third team of the evening are serving the Royal Consul General an intimate dinner reception for 80 guests at his Chicago penthouse apartment.
This was the “relaxing” part of Chef Shawn’s week.
Friday, April 29 6:30 p.m. It’s go time at Entertaining Company.
Up at Architectural Artifacts, the EC team was catering the Metamorphosis Gala. Never missing a beat, Shawn outdoes himself with a bird and the bee specialty cocktail and “butterfly bites” especially designed for the 200 guests and VIPs of this special event.
Up in the suburbs, we are catering a cozy residential dinner for 20. This kicks off a weekend of festivities for the family.
SaturdayApril 30, 5:30 p.m
Ahhh. In the catering business…there is always Saturday. Tonight will give us a run for our money, to be sure. At Café Brauer, one of our fabulous event planners Molly Fennell, led the wedding team in pulling off a catered evening of extraordinary dietary restrictions. Guests ranging from vegans to vegetarians, dairy-free to gluten-free to nut free – Molly had planned the menu so well with Chef Shawn that none of the offerings seemed restrictive at all – instead, we just started referring to the menu as “free-style”! Working with Chef Shawn, Molly designed all gluten-free hors d’oeuvres. The pescatarian bride and her vegetarian/gluten-free maid of honor, was accommodated easily. Kudos to Molly and Shawn! Many kudos!
While Café Brauer was jumping, we also had team 2 handling a 200-guest wedding at the River East Arts Center. There, Chef Shawn catered a glamorous evening celebrating the marriage of a Denver Bride and Indian Groom. (More multicultural – love it!) Under the planning expertise of Rachel Bradley and stunning décor provided by Kehoe and Associates guests were treated to lobster rolls, paneer bruschetta and Chatwallah Station followed by French-style Steakhouse entree service of Filet Mignon, Seabass and Roulade of Chicken Breast. Late night snacks included a riff on the couple’s favorite garlic cheese slider from DePauw University where they first met.
Onto Venue One and the Mitzvah to end all Mitzvahs. The food this evening was served entirely from a battery of food carts, each one maneuvered into individual dining “cocoons”. The menu included classics like: grilled London broil, decadent crab cakes, Gigli Spring Pasta, cauliflower gratinee and was juxtaposed with slick white high tech design concept envisioned and provided by Event Creative. EC beverage waiters found the young man’s guests wherever they were hanging out (sprawled on custom made furniture or rocking the dance floor, for example,) and served snacks as well as multicolor spun-sugar lemonade Mocktails throughout the evening. Late Night breakfast sandwiches fortified guests as they returned home in the wee hours.
Sunday, May 1, 9 a.m. I awoke to a new month – the first full one of Event Season and I hoped for only one thing: that Shawn was taking a long nap.