Tag cooking farm-to-table

Reflection on a Cooking Farm-to-Table Corporate Event in Seattle

The weather is warming up as we race toward those lazy summer days. I, for one, CANNOT wait. Here at the PTC office, I find myself daydreaming of sunny afternoons, drinks with ice, and actually craving salads (weird, right?). To fight my plummeting productivity, I thought I’d channel my anticipation into a fun blog. Keep reading for an event recap from last summer. This Seattle corporate team building event for Virtuoso takes us to Willie Green’s Organic Farm — it’s everywhere you want to be.
Virtuoso host, Kari Edwards, found us through something as simple as an internet search (Yay for good SEO!). After falling in love with the variety of team building options we offer, she decided on our Cooking Farm-to-Table event. Despite a brief snafu with the date, PTC event planner, Beth, had everything under control. According to Kari, “Beth was great to work with. She was very responsive, and patient when we had trouble with a date change unexpectedly.” Way to go, Beth! If we’ve learned anything from 13+ years in the event planning business, it’s that things do not always go according to plan. Beth is a pro at rolling with the punches!

When clients describe themselves as “Specialists in the Art of Travel”, you know they’re going to be a lot of fun. The group arrived at Willie’s farm at noon on a beautiful Thursday. After half an hour of mingling, sipping wine, and noshing on a fabulous antipasti platter with crudite of baby radishes, carrots and cultured butter, the group set off for a tour of the property. Jeff, the farmer leading the tour, brought everyone back promptly at 1:00 for the PTC cooking demonstration. With everything running smoothly, we were off to a great start! One of our newer Sous Chefs, Ben, showed our guests a few tips & tricks related to the day’s menu. Kari later reported, “Many of my coworkers mentioned how much they enjoyed the cooking technique demonstrations by Ben.” Great job, Ben!

Our travel specialists were then split into teams to work on the day’s mouthwatering farm-to-table menu. Favorite recipes included Griddled Corn Cakes with Bacon and Sour Cream, Baby Lettuce Salad with Fresh Cherries and Tarragon Crème Fraîche Dressing, Chicken Cooked Under a Brick with Arugula, Preserved Lemons and Green Olives, and a Summer Berry Crisp with Aunt Polly’s Hot Cream Sauce. According to Lead Chef, Carolyn, “They loved the event! Everything from the farm to the food to the staff to the recipes. We added in the farm’s baby carrots and radishes for the antipasti, lettuces for the salad, and arugula for the chicken filling. The food came out so good!” Host Kari could not agree more. She found that her team “loved that they actually got to cook, vs. a lot of cooking classes now days that are more demo than anything… Everyone loved the food, loved being introduced to new ingredients (like preserved lemons), and are clamoring for the recipes.” Lucky for them we send out all recipes to guests post-event. Just be sure to leave us your email address!

Reflecting on the event, Kari had this to say, “The selection of Willie Green’s farm was perfect! Being in the ‘luxury travel industry’, my coworkers and I have big standards and big expectations – we were not disappointed! I think the staff – a perfect combination of warmth and professionalism – was the best part. Everyone was friendly, always had a smile, and you never had to look far for someone to assist you. Carolyn was personable, engaging, knowledgeable and made me feel comfortable leaving all of the ‘party organizer’ details in her hands. I was able to completely relax and enjoy myself. She looks like Annette Bening!!

While our team was so touched by Kari’s kind words about the event overall, we couldn’t help but hone in on her Annette Bening comment. Carolyn probably had the most fun with the compliment, changing her email signature to reflect her new alias for the day. “Carolyn Peters aka Annette Bening”

Take A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Parties That Cook’s Top 11 Accomplishments of 2011

As we welcome in the New Year, we can’t help but reflect on the past. Sure, there may have been a couple of bumps in the road, but the good times far outweigh the not-so-good. 2011 was a big year for Parties That Cook, so we’re going to reminisce for a minute, and take a look at Parties That Cook’s Top 11 Accomplishments of 2011. After all, who doesn’t like a good flashback?

1. Became a certified B Corporation. That’s right! We became a B Corp to be part of a community of businesses that are proving you can be successful while taking care of people and planet.
2. Launched a new recipe deck. The development of More Sumptuous Small Plates was a team effort that required all hands on “deck” (Unintentional pun, I swear). It was great to see months of voting, proof-reading, editing and anticipating produce a final product we can be proud of. Not to mention, the More Sumptuous Small Plates launch party was a lot of fun!
3. Threw awesome surprise parties! What office that you know has employees willing (and ready) to dress up as Lady Gaga for a co-worker’s birthday celebration?! The same one that converts itself into a yoga studio for a quick birthday yoga session AND goes all-out to orchestrate a surprise Date Night cooking class proposal. (Yep. Right here.)
4. Hosted events benefitting the Boys and Girls Club and Women’s Initiative! There’s no better feeling than seeing the faces of dozens of kids (and their families) light up as they judge a timed cooking competition – and, of course, get all the “taste tests” their hearts desire… Though it feels pretty similar to raising $16,000 to help lower-income women get the resources, support and business training needed to start and grow their own businesses!
5. Expanded our office staff to 12 members. We’ve got quite the community/family growing in this office now. And this year, we came in at #56 in the San Francisco Business Times Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies of 2011. Woot Woot!
6. Hosted an awesome Second Annual White Elephant Gift Exchange Bonanza (commonly referred to as the PTCWEGEB). Gifts ranged from Justin Beiber electric toothbrushes to ice cube trays; from cookie decorating kits to matching his/her Christmas t-shirts displaying “Merry F N Christmas”; from a gift certificate to DRY BAR(!!!) to a pink pig in a tutu; from a shake weight to heated electric slippers that don’t separate. Needless to say, there were winners AND losers that night…
7. Added three NEW event types to our hands-on cooking party repertoire. Now you can go out on a GPS scavenger hunt that earns you advantages in the timed cooking competition to follow (Amazing Kitchen Race), put your spatulas to the test while competing in a heated baking competition (Cupcake Wars), AND create a meal using ingredients you picked on a farm (Cooking Farm-to-Table)! All at the same time?? You might be on to something…
8. Launched in Portland! Yep, we are officially hosting hands-on cooking parties and corporate team building events in four cities across the country. And while we’re never finished spreading the word and getting our name out there, at least the launch is done!
9. Celebrated Beth’s 1 Millionth (I don’t say that word enough…) dollar in annual revenue. You’d think we’d gone crazy after seeing our surprise $1 Million Dolla Balla surprise for Beth. Good times.
10. Hit $2M in annual revenue for the FIRST TIME EVER! We definitely had to stay on top of our game to reach this milestone in the shaky economy.
11. Had FUN! Whether it be getting our bacon fix from Lead Chef Mick, sampling Bibby’s award-winning Crack Cookies and Crack Pie (Momofuku), or just another Friday, we Parties That Cook folks know how to have fun while getting the job done – it’s what we do.

Here’s to the goals and possibilities of 2012! It’s guaranteed to be another crazy ride…