December 10, 2014
Excerpted from BizBash – December 2, 2014
By Jenny Berg & Michele Laufik
Food is no longer a halfhearted element of events and meetings, but a carefully considered integral part of creating engaging experiences.
Thanks to a social-media-hungry public and the rise of foodie culture, today’s catering chefs need to be constantly feeding the imagination of event guests with new, original, and – above all – delicious cuisine. Gone are the days of lowly puff pastries and lukewarm shrimp cocktail. Now, food has become a sophisticated medium and an integral element to an event’s theme, brand message, or identity. As such, catering chefs are stepping up to the plate, constructing elaborate interactive food stations to engage guests and impress clients, inventing restaurant-worthy cooking techniques, and pushing the limits of the industry as a whole.
To celebrate this culinary revolution, we designed this feature to highlight some of the most creative chefs – those who are redefining what event catering looks and tastes like – along with the most unusual, inspiring, and innovative dishes of the past year, which include everything from edible dirt to dainty Indian appetizers. The chefs also shared some insight into their cutting-edge methods. The selected group heads up the kitchens of catering companies across North America, dishing out fare at thousands of events each year, including galas and benefits, awards shows and premiere parties, product launches and marketing events, and much more.
Meet Occasions’ chef, Heather Weaver one of those talented people who represent the creativity and innovation of catering chefs today.
Heather Weaver decided that she wanted to be a chef at a young age, and after culinary school, she began to work in some of Washington, DCs most distinguished restaurants. Her respect for ingredients and tradition combined with creative curiosity led her to her current role as the lead chef of research and development at Occasions Caterers in the Nation’s Capital. With the help of co-founder Eric Michael and creative director Amy Lewerenz, Heather develops, tests, and explores new dishes, ingredients, and presentations in an effort to stand out from fellow caterers.
Scallop hors d’oeuvres with shells magnetically affixed to metal pins on driftwood trays
“When interpreting or reinterpreting dishes, you should always begin with understanding its origin and the culture that created it. The tray design was truly about form and function…Eric conceived the idea of producing something that related to the origin of the ingredients. The result was striking and functionally effective.”
Check out the whole article and complete gallery on the BizBash site.