Monthly Archives: June 2015

Celebrities: Chuck Hughes

You know what I find exciting? Getting the chance to work with celebrities. It was nice hosting Ray Bourque at two of my events, but as I mentioned before, I don’t really know much about sports and I didn’t know who he was before I started planning those events.

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Chef Chuck Hughes

Chef Chuck Hughes however, was a name I heard thrown around a few times before I started working on the 2nd Annual Spring Gala. Chuck was the third Canadian chef to win a cooking battle against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America. It was his tasty lobster dishes that lead him to victory, and earned him his own TV shows, Chuck’s Day Off, and Chuck’s Eat the Street.

Spring Gala is organized to help our culinary arts students gain experience with preparing and serving fine cuisine for black-tie events. Chuck was brought in to provide guidance and inspire our students, and to entertain our guests with a cooking demo. On stage he prepared a lobster poutine that I sadly didn’t get to taste, but that smelled and looked amazing. 

Chuck was great to work with; he was extremely friendly, entertaining, and very down to earth. I really hope I get the chance to work with him again.  But in the meantime, I may need to plan a trip to Montreal. He co-owns two very successful restaurants there, Garde Manger and Le Bremner, and I could really go for his lobster poutine right about now.

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Lobster Poutine

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Lobster

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Tarte Citron

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Charcutiere Platter

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Back-to-back Events

Ray at Podium

Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins

Carrying out two back-to-back events is always tough. It can be hard to ensure all of your logistics are planned out well for both events, when you don’t have the time in between to go over everything once again before the second event takes place.

The day after the Building Futures Gala was our Annual Sports & Education Dinner. Being in it’s 15th year I knew the colleagues I worked on this event with would have enough experience to help me out where they could, without needing too much instruction. Still, it was my first time carrying out this event and I wanted to make sure everything ran smoothly.

SportsEd2015_076My goal with all of my events is to avoid scrambling at the last minute to get everything done before guests start to arrive. Word of advice if you’re planning an event in a small town for the first time – guests tend to arrive at least 45 minutes early; I assume this is because they’re super anxious to head off to a fancy event as they don’t occur very often.

Unfortunately, a lot of scrambling ended up happening at the Sports & Education Dinner. I thought I had enough volunteers in place to help with setup until I was able to arrive back in town from the first event, but only one person had shown up. The calla lilies I ordered were a lot smaller than expected so I had to run out and buy additional flowers because I don’t like to put centerpieces on tables that don’t look picture perfect. Also, a lot of silent auction donations came in at the last minute while I was away at the first event, which was great, but I didn’t know some of the items were there until it was almost time for doors to open.

Hiccups always occur at the last minute but if you’re well prepared, they won’t seem like such a big deal when they happen. Here are a few quick tips to help you get ready for back-to-back events:

Tips

  1. Lists – I’m all about the lists. Make a list of supplies that are needed for each event, a list
    of tasks that can only be completed the day of, and a list of all the small details you’re likely to forget or leave until the last minute because you think you can.
  2. Solidify and brief your team(s) – You might think you’re able to do it all, but more often than not, that’s not the case. Create a team(s) to help you with both events and make sure you let them know in advance what their duties and your expectations are. You might not have time to brief them at the time of the event, and it’s noticeable to your guests when you have an event crew who’s not sure what to do.
  3. Décor – setup all of your décor and narrow down as many small details as possible for event number 2, before you switch all of your focus to event number 1. You don’t want to have to setup your second event from scratch on the day of if you can avoid it.

Of course there’s a lot more involved in planning back-to-back events, but what am? Some sort of expert? You may now turn your attention to the pretty pictures below.

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AppetizersBlue TableSportsEd2015_093

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