A Tasty Menu Tasting

For some upcoming events, Amy and I have had the pleasure to participate in one of the best perks of being an event planner – menu tastings. Not every client has the time or wherewithal to hold a menu tasting for every gala dinner they are planning and we’re no different. Unless a client or committee member requests it, we make recommendations based on hotel and event venue banquet lists and call it a day. But for the discerning palate, a menu tasting can be a great experience – and education.

Menu Tasting Events with Ginger & Co.

First, a menu tasting is only available after you’ve booked the venue. The purpose is to find the menu options the venue’s chef does best, with the understanding that cooking for four people is much different than cooking for 400. Full-size samples will be displayed on the table so you can see what the plate will look like day-of and so you can talk about the dish after you’ve finished what’s on your plate.

Here are a few tips to make the most of your event menu tasting:

  • Make sure the wine you plan to serve is included in the menu tasting and you try it with each menu option. That cabernet will taste different with the filet vs. the short ribs and their accompaniments.
  • Be sure to get feedback from everyone at the menu tasting. The point of having more than two people attend is to reflect the differences of people who will be in the room on the night of the event. More opinions are a good thing, even if it seems the final dish may need to be decided by a duel.
  • Keep the masses in mind. That scallop may be buttery-sweet but many people don’t eat seafood, particularly shellfish. If someone in your group is a traditional (aka picky) eater, you’ll be sure not to stray into food options that are too “out there.”
  • Ask if the linens on the table in front of you are what will be used for your event. That potato leek soup may look amazing against pin-tuck chiffon but when your budget takes you back to ivory, the white on white could be a deal-breaker.
  • Have fun! Whether you are seeing the venue for the first time, sitting at the right hand of the CEO’s wife or escaping the office for two hours just to have to work later that night, enjoy the experience of a fine dining three (or more) course meal!

About Ginger Berman

As President of Events with Ginger & Co., Ginger oversees the planning of 15-20 events each year, including the five simultaneous Light The Night Walks for the NJ chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as conferences and gala dinners for various other nonprofit organizations and corporate and professional services firms.Previously, as Special Projects Manager/Consultant to the co-founders of the organization Autism Speaks, she designed and executed events from concept to completion, ensuring they went off without a hitch and met their awareness-building and fundraising potential. High-profile events included the first chefs’ tasting in NYC to offer table-side cooking to over 370 people, which raised over $1.1 million, and the $1.8 million Concert for Autism Speaks featuring Lionel Richie.Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Ginger created the position of Marketing Manager, Conference and Event Planning at the New York headquarters office of White & Case, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the world. She managed client-facing retreats, educational seminars and other special events for the firm. In 2007, she returned to the firm as a consultant, organizing six days of events in three months time, including registration, hotel, airport transfers, two receptions, an all-day meeting and a black tie dinner dance for more than 550 people.Ginger earned her B.S., magna cum laude, in Mass Communications from Towson University and also attended American University of Rome in Italy. She lives in Westfield, NJ with her husband and son.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *