Mary and I are just catching our breath after returning from the annual Catersource conference and tradeshow in Las Vegas.  It was a week of fabulous food, great parties, good friends and lots of learning opportunities.

We got to see some of the newest trends in catering, including this human champagne chandelier:

Guests lined up with glass in hand for the opportunity to have the hanging acrobat pour them a glass of bubbly.  Talk about unique!  There was a lot of talk this year about total guest experience and that we need to consider all event elements, not just the food, to make an event memorable.

As usual, the ICA was out in force at the conference.  Many of the conference presenters, including myself, were ICA members.  Providing education, mentoring and resources for professional caterers is one of the primary goals of the ICA.  The ICA hospitality room was a great place to find caterers from around the globe sharing ideas and concepts with their peers.  In the end, we all went home with new friends, new ideas, and renewed enthusiasm for what we do.

Then there was The International Caterers Association CATIE Awards Gala.  This event is the Oscars of catering.  It was held at the brand new Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter.  The food and décor were absolutely cutting edge!  It will be hard to beat next year.

Check out this picture of the Signature Best Event – the award went to Culinary Capers of Vancouver –

They catered a four-course luncheon on the Great Wall of China!!  Can you imagine the excitement of catering an event of this magnitude?!  It was amazing just listening to the challenges they had to overcome.  It reminded us that no challenge is too big.  Pushing the limits is what makes us better.

This year the Casual Gourmet helped with the technical aspects of putting the CATIEs (Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence) entry process online for the first time.  We did not submit any entries this year, but I did get to go on stage and present two awards!

Congrats to our own Sarah Biggs and Dave Chase for being presented Star Service Awards from the ICA.  They have both put in countless hours of work for the organization and it was wonderful to see them recognized!

Catering is such a dynamic, engaging industry, and this time in Las Vegas is a great time to celebrate that – with fabulous food and amazing parties, of course!