Saturday, September 19, 2009

Task Force Tips Open House

Thursday evening we catered a "Chamber After Hours" for Task Force Tips. Their new 100,000 foot addition includes a fire museum and a front that looks like an old firehouse. They even have an old steamer, horse drawn fire engine that was brought to its place of honor in the museum a couple weeks ago, pulled by a team of Clydesdales---AWESOME!!!

We felt that since they were following a "firehouse" sort of theme with their museum, that we would stick with that for the food for the open house, and do some hors d'oeuvre sized portions of typical firehouse fare. We had a lot of fun brainstorming about what sort of dishes to do. The final menu was yummy! chili, with all the fixings, mini Italian beef sandwiches, a mashed potato bar with all kinds of goodies to pile on your mashed potatoes, and of course the required cheese and crackers and crudite's with dip. (Isn't there a law somewhere that if you have appetizers you are required to serve these?)

We revved up the crudite with a dynamite presentation.

I had a lot of fun finding the glass containers for all the different veggies. It turned out really pretty and colorful, and yes, people actually ATE them!

The big hit of the party, though, was the mashed potato bar. We had scoops of our fabulous homemade (from REAL potatoes!) mashed potatoes in cups, and the guests could choose from a number of toppings. Shredded cheese, bacon, sour cream, chives, gravy, cheese sauce with broccoli; it was yummy and it was the talk of the party!!

We set up food stations in the four corners of the area, and the desserts in the center. This helped to spread the crowd out, and prevent lines, as well as controlling the amount of food. It worked very smoothly, and everyone enjoyed the conversation and socializing as they went back and forth, sat at tables, got something else to eat, etc. It was a very social setting. Of course, any time you get Chamber people together it's a social event!

I haven't heard the final count yet, but I would guess that they had over 400 people attend. It was hard to get a good feel for numbers because it was so big and spread out. The area where we set up the tables, chairs, and food, was actually larger than our ballroom, and looked small, in comparison to the other 95,000 square feet.

Preparing, transporting and setting up that much food for that many people involved about three days of prep work by our kitchen staff, 2 days of finding, gathering and packing equipment, decor and the like by our set up staff, and several hours of actual set up time the day of the event. Fortunately, everyone was on their game and it went very smoothly.

The fine folks at TFT were great to work with and happy to help with anything we needed. They even used a scissor lift to string an extension cord to the outside corner for the twinkle lights! With the ceiling being 30+ feet up there, it was no small thing. Just goes to show that having the right tool for the right job is critical! :) We are all now coveting their panel trucks and "mouse carts" (little two shelf storage carts with a skate board behind them for scooting around that big area! Sooooooo fun! And such a huge help with moving lots of stuff around quickly!)

Congratulations Task Force Tips on your beautiful new home! And thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration!

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