Caterers keeping busy before flood of DNC events

Caterers keeping busy before flood of DNC events

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by ANJANETTE FLOWERS / NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 16 at 2:06 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s almost game time for caterers in Charlotte.

It just might be one of their biggest games of the year, the Democratic National Convention.  But between now and then, it’s about getting teams and their plays together.

"I have to say that a lot of things are coming together in the last fourth quarter, if you will," said Dave Byron, President of Best Impressions Caterers in South End.  "Just in the last week, we're really fine tuning a lot of the events that we're doing.”

He knows they’ll be busy.

"I'd say three to 10 events a day, so we might do as many as 60 to 70 events over the course of that week,” he added.

Byron looks at it as a chance to showcase a little southern hospitality, not just when it comes to manners, but food as well.

"The one that I'm finding that most folks are requesting is shrimp and grits."

But they’ll be serving up more than that with Executive Chef James Fox.

“We want to provide guests with some wow,” said Byron.

“We're going to be cooking this meringue in the liquid nitrogen, but we're not really cooking it. We're going to freeze it solid,” Fox said.  "It'll actually finish like a sorbet.”

When you bite into it, there’s a vapor that looks like smoke coming out of your mouth.

"I think (guests) get a kick out of that sort of thing,” added Byron.

While the chefs continue working on menus, there is other work to be done and there’s no sign of things slowing down.

"We still have a lot to get accomplished in the next three or four weeks,” said Byron.  "For us this is game time.”

It’s game time for Jill Marcus, too.  She’s the President of Something Classic in Charlotte.

"It's three weeks away and counting. I'm afraid to look at the calendar,” said Marcus.

To say she’s excited about the convention might be an understatement.

"I was a political science major in college, so this is the closest I'm going be to the Democratic process, for sure" she said.

And just like some might say the Democratic process can be slow, so has the planning process when it comes to putting together the events and parties.

"We really thought by this time we would've had all of the events staffed, we would've known exactly what was going on, we would've had our rentals here,” she said.

But the “truth of the matter is we're still doing proposals for clients,” added Marcus.

She called it organized chaos.

"Sunday, we'll be involved in some delegate events,” she said. "The rest of the week is filled with events that are PACS, organizations, non-profit organizations, a lot of politician's groups,” added Marcus.  “We start the week off with a bang. We'll be the caterer for the media event, which they tell me will be 15,000 people."

For that event, it’s all about giving folks a taste of Charlotte.

"We're setting up a farmer’s market area,” she said.  “We'll have a few food trucks."

There’ll also be restaurants like Mert’s Heart and Soul in uptown taking part.

"I'm excited. I'm just really excited," said Leia James, assistant manager at Mert’s Heart and Soul.

In the end, Marcus said it’s all about the big picture and showcasing Charlotte in the best possible light when the national spotlight comes on.

"We're partnering,” she said, “we're a community….We get the opportunity to show the world what Charlotte cuisine is all about.”
 

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