food

How To Go From Messy to Clever with Six Great Event Food Creations

getty-max-getty-14078-586700718.jpg

Messy foods are for outback grill events, booze cruises and music festivals, right? Wrong. Event guests appreciate easy-to-eat options, and catering groups are repurposing age-old recipes to make event options more appetizing.

Crowd-favorite foods aren’t necessarily the cleanest, but they can certainly be cleaned up to make the eater’s life easier. While some guests love their hearty, sweet and classic foods, they needn’t be restricted to “finger-licking good” winds, sandwiches and BBQ options. The following event providers have remixed typical event food ideas. Check them out:

Preston Bailey Supplies Tiramisu Grab-and-Go Offers

Preston Bailey turned an entire Four Seasons New York Downtown into a catering establishment, supplying tiramisu as a grab-and-go options. Striking out the eating difficulty, it successfully celebrated its partnership with Four Seasons, all while keeping event-goers happy.

S'mores Gets Portable with Lollipops

Yes, it’s possible to eat a S’mores product without the mess. In fact, S’mores created campfire lollipops to familiarize their guests with handheld fun at the Engage!14 Wedding Summit. By reinventing an age-old theme in a new way, S’mores effectively redesigned the way guests look at desert.

Great Performances Dishes Out Fried Chicken Cones

By dishing out fried chicken stored in waffle cones, Great Performances allowed its guests to roam about the premises with self-serve options designed to circumnavigate the need for plates. Fried chicken might not be the hardest-to-handle food item, but it’s certainly deserving of a little ease-of-eating. The cones were offered at the Watermill Center in 2015, redefining the way chicken, itself, is dished out to hungry patrons.

Elegant Affairs Creates Portable Spaghetti and Meatballs

By compacting spaghetti and placing singular meatballs on top, New York’s Elegant Affairs created a clean, to-the-point version of traditional spaghetti dinners. The mess-free food item gave patrons a micro approach to an age-old macro problem associated with messy spaghetti event dinners.

Occasions Caterers Make Salad Bites

That’s right: salad bites. Alongside spaghetti, salad is a notoriously difficult event dish to serve cleanly. By creating salad bites hors d’oeuvre, Occasions Caterers gave patrons fork-served eating options capable of tidying up the dish’s regular problems.

The Washington Human Society Offers Portable Hummus and Pita

Hummus is messy. Really messy. The Washington Humane society, however, offered a selection of hors d’oeuvres hummus and pita bites, celebrating their 2014 Fashion for Paws runway event.

Sometimes, alternative food options work well. They certainly revamp many age-old ideologies surrounding proper event food options. Check out more annual food options, and stay sharp with this year’s best event creations.

New Edible Event Trends for 2017

Today’s marketing events have gone taste-centric, and modern marketers are taking advantage of several trends. Edible signage, sensory booths and even virtual reality have changed the game. Whether you’re a food-based brand or not, your customer’s experience matters. Your attendees remember tastes, and you’re not far from getting involved with this year’s latest,

providers below have taken charge with the consumer’s taste buds, delivering unforgettable experiences to their brand’s favorite fans.

Loliware’s Edible Signage

First up, we’d like to highlight the company Loliware for their edible signage pitch during ABC’s “Shark Tank.” The signage, responsible for producing the first edible, biodegradable cups, was originally created to reduce event waste. By transforming the sampling process, Loliware essentially redrafted what it means to make edible products. Signage which can be repurposed, eaten and even marketed to specific events is highly unique, and it’s capable of transforming entire marketing campaigns.

Volkswagen’s “Eat the Road”

The “edible everything” campaigns have gone far. Volkswagen, too, has extended itself in the edible direction, creating its “Eat the Road” campaign. The campaign, crafted from direct mail, let readers tear out and eat magazine pages. Created from propylene glycol, these pages were redesigned to taste like sugar. Jet Blue had a short follow-up, creating a New York Post edible ad which tasted like a potato chip.

Volkswagen’s start-up didn’t stop the roll-outs, either. Soon after Jet Blue’s creation, Videri Chocolate Factory celebrated its 5th anniversary by creating two-pound edible posters. Established in stores, local restaurants, art galleries and breweries, the signs certainly made an impact.

Everything Skin-Based

While edible ads might’ve stirred up the most attention, conductive ink has become one of the more flexible edible marketing resources. Creations like MIT Media Lab’s DuoSkin prototype made stylish, gold leaf tattoos which were eatable. As if that wasn’t enough, following creations capitalized on the trend.

Consumable marketing resources, in the past, have been incredibly unique. Now, they’re promising a new horizon of interactive business resources. If you haven’t yet, check out the latest, greatest edible thrills in circulation. Edible marketing is a niche subject, but it definitely has its kicks. Regardless of the trend, several truths still stand. Consumers like food—even if it’s presented in an unorthodox way. Additionally, the pure strangeness of edible anything will often grab a buyer’s attention. Edible designs aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they may be on the rise.

What's Next: Super Bowl for Cars?

A Food and Drink Extravaganza

Enlisting the help of Chef Ramsay, Nascar has created an eight-hour eating event which gives eventgoers a taste of everything meat. Pork butt and party-ready sliders are only two inclusions. Already, Fox has altered the presentation to glorify local affiliates alongside delectable displays.

Fox’s plan for the Daytona Day promotional blitz is to present six recipes, a pit-stop cocktail entry and—of course—more food. Sweet potato tater tots, chocolate cake and bourbon are main entries. The booze front, itself, is highlighting the culinary-competition series. Nascar’s dedication to food isn’t necessarily unique, but it sets it up to reach new heights as an entertainment provider.

Nascar as the New Super Bowl

The intention, here, is to replicate a Super Bowl Sunday experience. The Daytona race might seem out of reach to those not following Nascar, but it’s a surprisingly stable location for top-10 America events. Fox is expecting its ratings to spike on Sunday, if only by visibility alone. The Daytona Day campaign has already kicked off, and Fox has already introduced its audiences with a customized “Simpsons” theme crafted to tease upcoming festivities.

Fox has a lot of resources, and its massive off-air marketing campaigns are likely to make a big splash. Race-day promotions via UberEats, for one, will benefit this effort. Sunday’s meal-delivery services will similarly boost the Daytona Day parties. Hardcore Nascar fans can expect a lot of attention on in-depth brand representation. Comcast Xfinity, too, will be present—sponsoring Nascar’s minor league circuit. The Daytona 500 can easily be “eventized,” as its leaders say, and it’s a perfect marketing opportunity. Eventgoers needn’t understand race intricacies, either, to have a good time.

Both die-hard and casual fans alike will be at Daytona Day, celebrating Nascar with food, drinks and parties. The floor is open for affiliate marketing success, too, which will only boost the event’s visibility. On the bottom level, however, Nascar already benefits from a great deal of popularity.

Once Again, SOBEWFF Delights its Guests

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, more commonly known to its fans as the SOBEWFF, celebrated its 16th anniversary in Miami this past weekend. Even though the event just ended, we can still look to it to see this year's top trends and adapt them for our own events in the upcoming months. Here are some of the things that took the spotlight:

Tastings and Demonstrations

This year's tastings didn't stop with serving up food to curious attendees. The Grand Tastings were all accompanied by demonstrations by KitchenAid so people could see how to make the dishes at home. Of course, doing so would presumably involve buying some KitchenAid products. These were integral to the demonstrations, and many people who view such demos come to the feeling that they have to have the items shown within them. Needless to say, that's the plan.

Intimate Dinners Hosted by Well-Known People

While the big A-listers of Hollywood weren't hosting dinners, SOBEWFF did get some notable personalities to do the honors. Each dinner featured a different person or group who, for the most part, are known for their food or wine expertise. This type of dinner has been trending for a few years now, and many people are fans. Importantly, the term "intimate" doesn't refer to the sort of dinner that caters to lovebirds. Instead, it's a chance to talk to the hosts in a setting that is far more personable, or intimate, than the typical stage-to-audience speech setup.

Fitness Events

Companies have tried to make fitness into a trend for years, but it is now finally catching on. Two "Buddhas and Bellinis" events happened over the course of SOBEWFF and drew plenty of people to the yoga-themed mass classes. Other fitness-related events were geared toward families, and some included healthy cooking. It's clear that people are still interested in fitness and healthy food, and that the longstanding association between these things and deprivation dieting is continuing to fade.

Celebrity Chef Talks and Signings

A couple of decades ago, the very idea of a celebrity chef was all but unheard-of. Now, there are several making the rounds. People always love to get closer to celebrities, so it was a hit for SOBEWFF to bring in well-known chefs and home experts. The topics were highly varied, with one on the future of restaurant operations on all sizes and another that claimed that political discussion outright belongs at the dinner table.

While it's hard to match the scale of a festival like SOBEWFF, you can make your event a big hit by using it for inspiration. The other thing you need is a great venue. Try our flexible 70,000 square foot space here at Soho Studio for your own Miami extravaganza.

How to Wow People with a Vegan Menu

getty-max-getty-14078-598708582.jpg

If you're going to be serving food at your event, it's important to choose menu items that everyone can and will eat. This will be hard if you try to make a different menu for all of the many common dietary variations. Instead, try combining gluten-free and vegan to create dishes that almost everyone will love. One of the most important things you'll need to keep in mind is the difference between vegetarian and vegan. Vegetarian dishes may include eggs, milk, and other products that ultimately come from animals. Vegan food, on the other hand, includes none of that. Only plants and plant products are allowed.

Choosing the Menu Items

The key to wowing a mixed-preference audience with vegan dishes is to avoid the bland, diet-type fare non-vegans often associate with this type of food. Instead, make sure the meals are tasty. Hire caterers that use spices and sauces liberally to pump up the flavor volume and add delicious-looking color to the dishes. Also, make sure that your catering company is used to cooking for vegans. Such companies will have plenty of delicious recipes already developed.

If You Can Field Two Menus, Offer Both Meat and Meat-Free Options

When you're providing lunch, meat-eaters likely won't be too put out if they don't get any meat in the meal. The same cannot be said of dinner. Unless your company gets marketing points from going all-vegan, offer a meat-included menu for this meal along with the vegan one. Note, however, that some vegans insist that their food be cooked in different areas than those used to cook meat! Fortunately, there are some caterers out there that will actually cater to even this demand.

Always Remember the Possibility of Allergies

The days when you could just serve a mystery sauce or meal are over. For reasons that are not quite understood, the incidence of life-threatening food allergies is higher than it was just 30 or 40 years ago. Therefore, you should always list potential food allergens. It's also important to know for certain exactly what is in everything, vegan or not.

This isn't to say that it's dangerous to serve meals. You simply need to know what is in all of the food so you and your staff can give accurate answers to those who ask about the ingredients.

With these things in mind, you'll be able to serve anything from a snack to a feast and have it be both safe and impressive. The final thing you'll need is a venue. If your event is in Miami, try our event and exhibition area here at Soho Studios. We offer up to 70,000 square feet that can be configured to meet all of your event needs.

How your Catering Menu Will Make or Break Your Event

getty-max-getty-14078-521293131.jpg

Your event is much more than a cool display collection. In the business world, successful events are experiences. The food you serve, whether it’s at a corporate meeting, a tech expo or a major industry extravaganza, will give your consumers a specific feeling towards you as a provider. Keep in mind: Your catering menu is important. It can make, or break, an event—and we’re here to tell you why.

Reason One: Time

Time is of the essence. Before we get to the attendee’s mindset, we need to talk about the clock. If you hire a catering company, make sure the prepared menu is simple, delightful and memorable. Make sure you don’t need a ton of time to plan, cook, serve and pick up the dishes. You’d be surprised how much can go wrong if an event’s menu is overcomplicated.

Reason Two: Versatility

Second, versatility should be considered. A versatile menu—one with detailed options—can inspire creativity from the get-go. A rigid menu, however, may turn your attendees off, food-wise. Make sure you’re offering at least three main courses, and sprinkle a little creativity atop the side items and appetizers. Remember: It’s an event. Your attendees will be hungry, but they’re more likely to indulge in savory apps than a full-course mean.

Reason Three: Dietary Needs

The biggest way to kill event dining interest is to lack specialty options. No, not diverse options—specialty options. We’re talking diet food versions, vegan options, soy-free food and vegetarian dishes. You shouldn’t assume your eventgoers are a diet-free crowd. Offer dietary accommodations, and set yourself apart from leading competitors.

Reason Four: Spice Diversity

Oddly enough, spices tend to be “make or break” topics for event-goers. Offer dish variety with spices. From side items to meats, a lot of cuisines can be changed based upon their included spices. Italian, Indian and Mexican cuisines, in particular, are highly susceptible to various spices.

Reason Five: Complimentary Items

No one likes a stingy event provider. A catering menu can shatter interest if it doesn’t offer a few free side items. No, you don’t need to ditch the RSVP, but you should be flexible when guests ask for more bread, soda or similar inexpensive items. If your event has dips, consider implanting a buffet bar for pre-entrée experiences.

Your event isn’t defined by its catering menu, but it can certainly benefit from a good one. At the same time, a poorly constructed, restrictive or otherwise uncreative catering menu can destroy an event’s legitimacy. Food can define a brand’s quality, attention to detail and willingness to include attendees. Make sure you do it right, and contact Soho Studios today. Our in-house Starr Catering Group is here to help, and it's fully packed with exclusive kitchen amenities, time-tested-and-true recipes and today's latest, greatest menu options.

Come Be a Kid Again with MCM and Soho Studios

getty-max-getty-14078-73119150.jpg

At Soho Studios, we believe everyone gets the chance to be a kid. It’s time to enrich the lives of others, fostering a love for everything cultural while promoting community involvement. By meeting children across the multicultural community, Soho Studios and the Miami Children’s Museum offer extensive meet-ups with programs, exhibits and art displays.

The Community Connection

The Miami Children’s Museum is all about community. Here at Soho Studio’s, we’re all about networking. Florida residents can kick back, enjoy the festivities and engage community efforts at every level. At every turn, an exhibit waits to be found. The Miami Children’s Museum’s “Be a Kid Again” Gala presents the area’s leading cultural displays. While networking is a major event feature, entertainment, culinary delights and education, of course, are promoted.

Every child in the community is welcome, as are parents, to engage in the Museum’s teaching goals. The community connection is far-reaching, connecting event-goers with a variety of exhibits. Co-chaired by Christy and David Martin, alongside Daniela Swaebe and Michael Comras, the Be a Kid Again Gala excels in connecting Soho Studios with its wonderful surrounding community.

Fundraising at the Family Level

Soho Studios believes every fundraising opportunity thrives upon family involvement. To meet the community’s needs, Soho has connected with museum professionals. Programs, interactive exhibits and art-related learning materials are only the beginning.

Powerful fundraising excels when children of all ages are allowed to imagine, learn, play and create together. In the past, Soho Studios has assisted with similar community involvement initiatives. No great idea is created alone, and we believe fun begins with helping others. Miami Children’s Museum is one of the area’s premier institutions, serving entire families by inspiring them about their surrounding community’s needs. By prompting involvement via literacy programs, art workshops and childhood education, Miami Children’s Museum succeeds in raising awareness.

A Wonderful Outreach Location

Soho Studios is located in Wynwood, Miami’s Art District. Over the years, it’s evolved to encompass the city’s expression. Soho Studios is Miami’s epicenter of expression, creativity and opportunity. Every campaign, fundraising event and initiative is treated with sincerity. Soho Studios believes in Miami Children’s Museum, and we’re proud to create a platform of continuity for future efforts.

Visit our studios, and check out our extensive art, culture and education showcase. At Soho Studios, events are constantly changing. The community always comes first, as do its needs. With over 70,000 square feet available, we’re ready to host extravagant, yet intuitive, community support events. Come on over, and be a kid again at one of this year’s biggest gala’s. We’ll be waiting, and we’ll be ready to show you the enthusiasm of our community’s bright, intelligent minds.

Why MorningStar Farms Created the "Way to Veg" Sampling Tour

getty-full-getty-14078-452752509.jpg

When you are a food company like MorningStar Farms, your main goal is to get people to try your vegetable based foods so they will know that healthy can taste good. Well, that’s exactly what they did this summer at the “Way to Veg” experiential marketing tour of the U.S.  Designed to engage current customers as well as to introduce their products to new ones, the “Way to Veg” marketing venture was a successful summer sampling tour loaded with good food, health information, and fun experiences. Experiential marketing, which can be described as a marketing message you can feel, touch, or view in a particular space, is seeing a rise in recent years. Companies and brand ambassadors are looking for fun and unique ways to engage consumers in hopes of making their brands stand out. MorningStar Farms hit a home run with their “Way to Veg” food truck tour and introduced people to a healthy and delicious option.

The marketing venture began in Telluride, Colorado in May at the Mountain Film Festival. The eye catching green, retrofitted MorningStar Farms branded Flying Cloud Airstream was on a mission. Fully equipped with a working kitchen, a freezer, and plenty of room to work, their goal was to set out on a summer sampling tour America would not soon forget!

“There’s a growing openness around eating veggie protein and the MorningStar Farms tour is designed to give people experiences grounded in the versatility and flavors of their food,” said director, brand and innovation marketing at Kellogg’s Frozen Veggie Foods Todd Smith. “The more the brand can provide opportunities for consumers to try recipes with MorningStar Farms veggie protein, the more approachable and accessible it feels to everyone.”

Owned by Kelloggs, the vegetable based brand MorningStar Farms created this interactive and informative experiential marketing tour to introduce folks to the brand itself and its delicious vegetable based food offerings like their Thai Curry Bowls, Veggie Burgers, and other healthy meals. The food truck experience allowed attendees to try delicious foods with a chef demonstration, participate in educational games, and even watch a trailer for their documentary series, “The Veg Effect,” that shows how consumers can easily incorporate more healthy vegetables into their daily diets.

The MorningStar Farms “Way to Veg” food truck offered a variety of experiences designed to introduce consumers to their products and engage them. Armed with a freezer filled with prizes and products, attendees learned that eating more vegetables was an easy and healthy alternative by dining on chef-prepared menu items, listening to MorningStar Farms brand ambassadors teach about “veggie cuisine”, and walking through a “Vegecation” game about vegetables and their value in our diets. Happy participants were awarded prizes to encourage healthy eating such as water bottles, vegetable peelers, and more.

The fun and informative summer tour that began in May in Colorado included stops at popular festivals throughout the United States and ended in September in Los Angeles.

The goal of the summer road tour by MorningStar Farms was to create a closer bond between the consumer and their healthy veggie brand by immersing the consumer in a fun and memorable experience. When this happens and folks have a positive experience, they are likely to associate those emotions with the MorningStar Farms brand, which is crucial to the success of the company.

Edible Graffiti in Wynwood

475863302

It isn’t often art and food are mixed so intimately. Sara Myers’ cooking series, titled “Sprouted Chef,” returned on Monday, September 21, with an unbelievable approach to Wynwood’s already delectable art scene.

A Nontraditional Art Display

Experiential marketing efforts are constantly changing, but they’re still available to time-tested-and-true eye openers. Monday’s artistic iteration was a selection of edible masterpieces created from savory vegetable purées. Each event-goer was handed “canvas” plates—to be used for color mixing, pattern creation, texture guessing and, yes, tasting.

Each recipe, Sarah Myers revealed, was a concoction of fennel, beets, sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers, curried cauliflower, garlic spinach, carrot harissa and cashew cauliflower. Purple potatoes made an appearance, too, to spice up the color pallet. Attendees were given the option to add their own, hand-selected entree spices and sides, too, ranging across nuts, vegetables, flowers and shaved ribbons.

The Flavor Profile Creation

Primarily, Myers aimed to create a fully interactive class for participants to expand their creative horizons. By tying food and graffiti together, she was capable of ensuring the artist’s overall perspective was preserved while keeping things spicy all day. While attendees needn’t be color masters, art connoisseurs or even massively creative, the food aspect tied most together to bring visual pieces of art to life.

Collaboration wasn’t out of the cards, either. Artist Pedro Amos arrived to assist the classes. Pedro, himself, was Wynyard’s very own graffiti artist—one who’d previously painted its Orlando mural. The two hit it off, furthering the artistic allure of Wynyard. Because collaboration was more than expected, the dynamic duo succeeded in creating a truly organic event.

Combining Marketing Experiences

Sure, old dogs can’t learn new tricks. The combination of two marketing powerhouses—food and art—is, however, an entirely different beast. The Wynwood way has continuously facilitated the relationship between art and South Florida food, and Myers’ hotplate approach and homage to the historically Art-Deco-dominated area is refreshing. Where self-promotion is considered, Myers couldn’t have hit the nail squarer on the head. Her iteration of public taste tests, representation of versatility and sheer love of art carried her series, Sprouted Chef. While Sprouted Chef airs episodes on a weekly basis, events like Monday's are incredibly valuable to maintaining viewership.

It’s slightly rare to see a cooking series successfully navigate the cross-market waters between painting and food dish creation. Myers’ approach, for this reason, is both bold and innovative. Myers has wanted to propose new seasonal concepts for some time—to both elevate her show and highlight Wynwood’s community. The event crossed a communication barrier many marketing approaches fail to surpass, and Myers ability to strike up conversations about her show, on their turf, is nothing short of extraordinarily creative.

Reese's Creates Spooning Event

178138152

Hershey’s has given their chocolate lovers a gift in the form of Reese Spreads. Creating a marketing campaign that will draw the masses, Reese’s launched the “Do you spoon?” initiative, with a talking vending machine that invited people to use an oversized spoon to try the new spreads. Given a royalty theme, the spoon was gold, with miniature spoons given out via assistants on roller blades. Included in that campaign is out-of-home advertising in three major markets, with a huge push during the back-to-school period, accompanied by television ads. This type event helps build the brand for Reese’s, in an effort to contend with the current leader in the market, the Nutella brand.

Complete with small stations full of dipping materials like fruit, pretzels and breads, customers will be able to taste and enjoy the different ways these spreads can be used. As part of the ever-expanding Reese’s portfolio, this is a welcome addition to the family.

This type of event helps experiential marketing specialists create events that are meaningful and impactful, focusing on solidifying brand identity and incorporating customer input to grow a loyal fan base. We host a number of events of this nature, creating fun and unique platforms for customers interested in an immersive experience.

Soho Studios has the ability to work with in-house teams to solicit sponsors for the events, performers and other incentives, including VIP areas and reality-based areas. In the case of Reese Spreads, their campaign is geared toward increasing basket size. These social activities add leverage and visibility, taking into account the opportunities to increase market share.The Miami area is known for hosting these types of venues year-round, with every event customized for the customer and occasion. Soho Studios has a number of spaces to accommodate both large and small crowds, with an adjacent outdoor area. Catering to customers who enjoy chocolate spreads, this is a great way to attract attention in a fun and engaging way.

Hershey has been around since 1894, engaging customers with their variety of chocolates and other snacks. With this live event and others designed to enhance engagement, marketing firms can use venues like Soho Studios to bring concepts to life in tight timelines for both large and small corporations. Using venues that have a number of floor plans and are designed to create experiential events in customized event spaces is smart and cost-effective. Reese’s embraced the moment and created a special demand.