This was, as always, a very interesting event to work. Good Gracious! Events were fortunate enough to be brought in by Jeff Brown of Brown Hot Events to do the food for this wonderful event.
Jeff Brown’s team did a great job with the décor, the colors were all white and yellow which reflected the clients product. The bar was first class, and the tables for the buffet were truly unique with a custom made table top.
The event was for Veuve Clicquot, a champagne company which is rich in history. Every year they put on a polo match which they would sponsor, providing champagne, food and entertainment for the guests. For several years this event has been held in New York, however before that, the event was in Los Angeles. This year the match was bought back to Los Angeles in an attempt to see if they can make it a permanent switch.
Enough back ground work, lets get to the nitty gritty.
Upon arrival I had to drive my semi new, sparkly clean car through a dusty park trail, which then had to go through horse manure while parking in a corral. When stepping out of the car, the wonderfully refreshing smell of horse poo stung my nostrils… Got to love catering!
The Good Gracious truck was all ready there, and like always the kitchen staff is there working hard in order to get everything unloaded and set up.
The event site was magnificent, very classic, simple and elegant. There was a large polo field, with a bank on one side filled with deck chairs and umbrellas, and flat space on the other, which is where our VIP tent was stationed. The white sofas, carpet, walls and bar, accented with gold accessories really made everything pop. Jeff and his team did a fantastic job.
Eventually everything was unloaded, the buffets were set up and the final details were put in place.
Time to change for the event… did I mention this event had a theme? This event was based in the 1920’s. So of course we had to dress appropriately, and by appropriately I mean like a numpty, and for all you Americans reading, by numpty, I mean idiot.
I know I am from Europe, but the polo shirts they asked us to wear were too tight even for me. It was so tight it may very well of been sprayed on. The trousers showed my ankles (which are apparently how they wore them) with white dap shoes, jazzy braces that hold the trousers up, and a wonderful trilby hat to top it off. OH! And not to forget the ascot.
Though I describe the uniform this way, it was nice being in a different uniform to black bistro. Not only that, I had three young women helping me put my clothes on. So it could have been worse…
Once changed, and I had finished laughing at all my colleagues, it was time to charm the audience. Amazing champagne was being tray passed as the guests arrive, while the most fantastic hors d'œuvres were being provided by our kitchen. Such appetizers included mini Croque Monsieur’s with ham served in a thin crepe pocket with melted gruyere cheese. I know… yummmm.
Before long the VIP section was buzzing. People dressed to impress, some in 1920’s attire, and others in the most expensive sun dresses money can buy. But everyone made an effort. Of course there were a few familiar faces around from both the small and big screen which is always fun.
The event was now fully underway, the match started, and everyone was enjoying themselves. As far as they were concerned everything was running smoothly. Of course that is never the case now is it!?
This crowd loved a drink, so much so that the bar could no cope with the demand! So I grab two bottles of champagne and venture round in an attempt to refill people’s glasses. Of course as I go round you get people saying “oh I would love some, but I don’t have a glass…” then of course you are not going to say get it yourself, so you go behind the bar to get a glass, then once you step behind the bar another guest shouts out to you that all they want is one glass of champagne, and you are not going to say no to that either. It was like a domino effect, except I was playing EVERY domino. So after pouring the person at the bar his one drink, he then wanted one for his friend who just turned up… brilliant.
I served them both, then ducked under the bar, grabbed my two bottles of champagne, one glass, ignoring all the calls from the bar, made my way through the crowd to then find the one person who I was trying to pour this one drink for. I found him, he took the glass and I poured some of the finest champagne into it, I turned to his partner and said “for you madam?” while showing her the labels of the bottles…. I think you know where I am going to go with this….
“oh go on then, I wasn’t going to have one but since you’re here I will… could you get me a glass…?”
The cycle continues….
After everyone was remotely satisfied with their beverages, it was time for me to concentrate on the food again. The Buffets looked fantastic with some of the most delicious food displayed. My main role of the event was to bus, meaning to clean everything away, glasses, napkins, plates… I know what you are thinking… glamorous?
So I get one of our large trays in order to carry as much as I can, to then go back to the scullery with it, I do about four trays full and it comes to my fifth… What I am about to tell you is 100% true down to every detail.
I fill up the tray and make my way back to the scullery area, my arms are shaking because the glasses are so heavy, and people are standing in the way and aren’t moving. I fight my way through the crowd while balancing the several glasses on my tray, I walk into the scullery area and the side is full of dirty glasses where people are in the process of putting them away. The tray is getting heavier and heavier, you can hear the clinging of the glasses because of my arms shaking. One of the people at scullery saw me struggling and so told me to place the tray down on some boxes, I bend over and I’m about an inch away from putting the tray down… then disaster struck. The worlds largest rip occurred, and my trousers from front to back ripped clean through, there I am with a heavy tray in my hands, squatted down wearing a 1920’s outfit, holding a super heavy tray and my bum hanging out for the world to see. What an image.
So off to wardrobe I went, dropped my trousers, handed them over to the alterations lady and stood there in my boxers while they were repaired. Again… glamorous.
My trousers are now repaired, and I arrive back in the kitchen for desserts. As I walk into the kitchen I see Randall Melon and Dan Lundy talking to a couple of other waiters as if we were about to embark upon a military operation.
“stay close, don’t let anyone get near you, move quick so we can get this done!” inspirational stuff there from Dan Lundy.
Of course I had no idea what they were on about, that was until I stepped back out onto the floor.
I had the fortune of carrying the double lemon crepe pockets, which are thin lemon crepes folded with lemon curd and zest, and are absolutely delicious I might add.
We walk five yards onto the floor and people start swarming us, we are in a line holding the deserts high above our heads, and guests are reaching up like zombies to grab anything! Every single individual asking if they can have just one. Saying “please, for me!” I believe one person said, “do you know who I am?” (I didn’t have a clue).
We reach the buffet table, which can only be described as a bee hive. People buzzing around trying to get to the deserts. We stand in a line, and pass the food to Randy who is at the front, people still trying to peel off the plastic to grab a cheeky crepe. You would think these people have never been fed before!?
I have never seen anything like it. One of my colleagues was carrying some chocolate cupcakes towards the buffet, when someone from behind her reached around to grab one, and ended up knocking the whole tray on the floor. She got quite upset about it. In my eyes there was no excuse for people to behave that way.
But once again that trusty learning note came into play. Know your audience. We had to walk all the way through the party in order to get to the dessert station; we weren’t making any progress with it. So I am proud to say that I took the liberty in saying, lets just tray pass the dessert, that way everyone wins. The people get their dessert, that makes one less buffet we have to break down, and it is all done in a peaceful manner. Magical idea if I don’t say so myself.
That’s exactly what we did, and everything came together, the kitchen were able to start breaking down, the buffets could come down, and the rest of us were bussing… (I didn’t have the guts to use a big tray since you know what…)
The event winded down, everyone couldn’t wait to pack the truck, close it up, send it off and drive home.
I must say thank you once again to Brown Hot Events for allowing us to work with them on this event. Though I make everything sound so difficult in this blog, it really was a pleasure to work with them, and their décor, production and team really made the event come alive. I know Good Gracious! are looking forward to working with Jeff Brown again soon.
KEY LEARNING POINTS
•Even the most sophisticated crowds can get out of control
•Adapt to the situation, don’t force something that is unlikely to happen, to happen.
•Work and communicate with the production team to create a successful event
•You are not stuck in one role, you could help on the bar one second, loading the buffet the next, bussing shortly after followed by having your trousers being repaired.