Catersource Conference at the Cosmopolitan

Catersource Conference at the Cosmopolitan
We have just returned from the Catersource Conference in Las Vegas and it was quite a show!!!   The conference was held at the recently opened Cosmpolitan, which has a three-story crystal masterpiece featurning curtains of crystal enclosing  the Chandelier Bar.   The Cosmopolitan is adjacent to the new City Center and if you are in the area, the Chandelier should not be missed. Catersource hosts the biggest conference and tradeshow for caterers and event designers each year.  The conference is a great way to get information on the newest trends and products so that we can introduce these trends and products to you.  Each year when we return from the conference, we are inspired to create new stations and incorporate the latest trends into our menus. As silly as this may sound, one of the biggest debates at the conference was what the next biggest dessert will be now that the cupcake trend has peaked:  will it be the whoopie pie or the French macaroon cookies?  Here, when you order a macaroon cookie, you usually get a coconut macaroon which is made from almond paste but the macaroon cookie that is the subject of the debate is the traditional French macaroon cookie which is actually a chewy, crunchy meringue cookie with pastry cream filling. The whoopie pie looks like a big Oreo and is made with two round pieces of cake and has a sweet cream filling.  Only time will tell which of the two desserts becomes the latest trend.

French Macaroons

Whoopie Pie

The highlight of the Conference was seeing celebrity event designers Preston Bailey and David Tutera.  Both speakers were well received and both had wonderful presentations with interesting stories about how they started in the event design business. For anyone who is not familiar with Preston Bailey, he is considered to be the founding father of event design, getting his big break when he was hired by Joan Rivers to design her daughter Melissa’s wedding in December 1998.  From there he has created magical events for Oprah and other celebrities including Ivanka Trump, Jennifer Hudson, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liza Minelli, Donna Karan and royalty around the world.  During his presentation, Preston Bailey spoke of his most recent art installations where he actually designed and built the structure where the event was held incorporating lighting and image projection into his design elements.  One of his books is aptly named Preston Bailey’s Fantasy Weddings and if you look at the pictures in his books and on his website, you will see the truly magical fantasy settings he has created. Most brides are familiar with David Tutera from his show My Fair Wedding.  On the show David Tutera sweeps in three weeks before the wedding and completely revamps the couples wedding plans to give them their fairy tale wedding.  When asked how much the weddings on his show would cost, he revealed that often the brides have budgets of $3,000 or $4,000 and that the weddings he designs for them would cost between $250,000-$500,000.  David Tutera’s client list includes Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Susan Lucci and Matthew McConauguhey to name a few.