Foodies attending Catersource’s Art of Catering Food conference Aug. 9 to 12 got a taste of Salt Lake City’s rising food and beverage scene. The event marked Catersource’s first Culinary Hands-on Experience in partnership with the Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute. Local food vendors, culinary walking tours and mobile kitchens were just a couple of the items on the agenda.
Approximately 500 chefs from catering companies and 75 attendees joined the 4-day event, which mostly took place at the Rice-Eccles Stadium—the main stadium for the 2002 Winter Olympics, located on the University of Utah campus. Not only did the stadium have a large enough kitchen (managed by Culinary Crafts) for the group, but its location at an elevation of 4,637 feet also offered outdoor dining experiences with mountain views from the concourse. In between educational sessions at the stadium and offsite excursions, the group stayed at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center and Holiday Inn Express Salt Lake City Downtown.
Salt Lake City’s burgeoning foodscape—chef-owned restaurants, craft breweries and urban wineries—is a large reason the group chose this location, says Diana Brasch, CMM, event director for Catersource Magazine, Conference & Tradeshow. Four classes—Butchery & Charcuterie; Technology in the Kitchen; Wow Desserts that Work for Caterers; and Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten-free Menu Items—were presented round-robin style with students split into four groups, says Brasch. Watching a butchery demonstration and trying a hand at bacon curing were just a few takeaways for attendees.