Tag event recap

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”

Competitive Corporate Event Recap: Yahoo! at Jeld-Wen Field

What do you get when you combine gorgeous weather, a world-class soccer stadium, and a PTC cooking competition? One awesome corporate cooking event! The event recap below was submitted by our Portland city manager, Carolyn. It’s been a while since our last guest post, so let’s just jump right in.

We were very excited to host this corporate group from Yahoo! at one of our favorite Portland venues: Jeld-Wen Field, the stadium where our beloved Portland Timbers play. (Then again, how could you not love cooking with a view of the Timbers field?) We were lucky enough to have the sun shining brightly as PTC team members Chris, Lauren, and I set up in the Key Bank Club. Oh, the perks of being a completely mobile cooking party company. I love working in new venues, transforming event spaces into the perfect Parties That Cook “kitchen”. Have I mentioned that all we need is a sink?!

Yahoo! guests arrived on schedule for an informative tour of Jeld-Wen Field. The tour ended at the Key Bank Club, where we welcomed everyone with an apron, name tag, beverages and antipasti platters. We kicked off the event with our favorite question: “When you’re at a party, where does everyone like to congregate?” Answer:The Kitchen!!! We gathered everyone around the same cooking station, and Lauren demonstrated a number of culinary tips and tricks that would help during the cooking — both at the event and at home. As soon as I explained how the competition works and covered key safety tips, the group was ready to cook!

Yahoo! host, Kevin, had organized a Sumptuous Small Plates Challenge, so we knew we had a pretty competitive group on our hands. Kevin also told us that this event was meant to celebrate the team’s achievements — how fun!  Despite being under the pressure of a timed competition, each team had a great time cooking together, adding their own creative twists to our recipes, and bonding over a hot stove.

The group prepared a mouthwatering menu including Crostini of Smashed Cannellini Beans and Feta Salsa Verde, Hosomaki Spicy Tuna Spiral Rolls, and Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Porter Frosting and Chocolate Bubbles – YUM! We chefs circulated to see how the teams were doing and give them further guidance along the way. After 60 minutes, we called for teams to present their plated creations. Each team picked a representative to tell us why their dish should win – in just 1 minute! After a few laughs and a few more theatrics, guests enjoyed the fruits of their labor, sampling each others’ dishes while the chefs tasted and judged the submissions.

The winner was decided based on taste, presentation, creativity, and display of teamwork during the cooking. It was tough to make a decision, as usual, because all the food turned out great. We loved the creativity of the Sweet, Sour and Spicy Chicken in Won Ton Cups team, who used Sriracha sauce to draw a picture of a car and wrote “Vroom!” on their platter (a representation of their Auto team back at Yahoo!). It was the Mini Skewers of Roasted Lamb with Indian Makhani Dipping Sauce, however,  who pulled ahead for first place! Congratulations!! They did a fantastic job cooking the lamb so it was still juicy. And the Makhani sauce they made was to die for! We chefs wanted more – how did they make it so good??

We awarded the winning team with bright green garlic grippers, and congratulated everyone on a job well-done. Guests continued to mingle, enjoying their food and drinks while listening to rad 80’s music and even watching the Timbers practice out on the field! Bonus!! We ended the day with a lovely group photo with the soccer field in the background.

Thank you, Kevin, for a fun day with your Yahoo! team. We hope to host your group again soon — and really hope it’s at Jeld-Wen Field!