Catersource, the catering industry’s premier educational conference and tradeshow, took place from March 12-15 this year in New Orleans and the Global Gourmet Catering team was there en force. We like to send new employees to the show to gain insight from our industry colleagues, which resulted in us taking over half of a plane as we’ve been growing like crazy this year. Our group — 15 strong — included five new sales coordinators, three production managers, a pair of executive partners and multiple department leads.
In addition to a variety of unique course material, we got to take in a lot of what New Orleans has to offer. The city now has our hearts and our waistlines. Spain Salinas, Partner and Director of Operations, organized our trip and planned an exquisite dinner each night we were there. We started with a deliciously modern but down-home take on cajun cuisine at Toup’s Meatery. Chef Isaac Toup is a Top Chef alum — one of Executive Event Chef Valerie Armstrong’s favorites — and the meal lived up to expectations. We spent Sunday night at Pigeon & Prince, John Besh’s elegant private dining house. Our last team dinner was at Antoine’s, one of the country’s oldest family restaurants and originator of Oysters Rockefeller. We’ve been largely vegetarian and avoiding fried foods since, but we left each meal incredibly satisfied and inspired.
While everyone in our office considers going out to dinner “market research,” the New Orleans adventure really was a work trip. We took classes Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and learned quite a bit on and off the show floor. Catersource is usually hosted in Las Vegas, and our staff has led classes in the conference program. This year we were even more excited to explore New Orleans and the rich culinary traditions rooted in the city, from fried chicken in plastic baskets at Willie’s to the beautifully plated but rustic compositions Besh treated us to at Pigeon & Prince. Contact us if you’d like some fresh Southern style incorporated into your next event!
Thematically, our trip was all about the food. We broke out between classes to explore different parts and foods of New Orleans, including multiple stops at Café du Monde for beignets. The sandwiches proved worth writing home about, from fried shrimp Po’ Boys to 10lb. Muffalettas and Gambinos, which are just Muffalettas without the tapenade. Goat cheese was also everywhere: blended into dipping sauces, decadent desserts like mousses, and savory soufflés.
The trip served as a solid team bonding experience, and we just keep getting closer considering all the weight we gained and salads we’re splitting for lunch in the aftermath. On that note, we leave you with a photo of the world’s largest serving of Baked Alaska, courtesy of our dinner at Antoine’s.
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