09 Feb On the Road: How Foodie Field Trips Help Define Our Culinary Program
At Robert Ryan Catering & Design, we feel that continuing education for our culinary staff is key. We send our sales and culinary team to catering seminars yearly, like The Art Of Catering Food annual conference sponsored by the International Caterers Association. We also attend the Catersource conference annually to keep up on current trends.
While we attend conferences across the United States to learn about new trends and ideas, we also educate ourselves in our own backyard by visiting local restaurants and meeting with local chefs. In fact, we take our whole sales and culinary team out quarterly to get a taste of the best in local foods. Specifically, we like to explore multicultural menus and immerse ourselves in learning about food, culture and traditions from across the globe.
Recently, we visited Shagun Fine Indian Cuisine in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The owner, Happy, prepared an Indian feast for our team and took time to explain each menu item to us. He emphasized the regional origin of each dish and shared ingredients and techniques so that we can now bring more international flair to our menu offerings. We also had the opportunity to dine at Philadelphia’s Amada, focusing on a menu of Spanish-style tapas.
At each of our foodie field trips, we dine on the chef’s selection of appetizers, first courses, entrees and desserts—all served family-style, so everyone can get a taste of all of the dishes.
Why do we go on these jaunts? We believe that it broadens our knowledge of different cultures and their traditional foods. This allows us to speak knowledgeably about menu options and even to create new dishes to meet the wants and needs of our clients. We have a genuine interest in our clients and want to perfectly execute every little detail of each event.
Our staff feels strongly that our foodie field trips directly impact our ability to plan and carry out the best events for our clients. Here’s what some of our catering staff has to say about them:
Madison Tupper, Staffing Coordinator/Office Manager
With the opportunity to go on our food field trips, I have been able to try Spanish tapas and authentic Indian cuisine for the first time. My biggest takeaway from these food outings is that I was able to experience the traditions and cultures of other countries. I have certainly had Spanish cuisine before, but that was my first time at a tapas restaurant. It was neat to see the dishes displayed in a variety of courses and small-plate options. Not only was the food delicious, but I found so much value in being able to have the entire tapas experience, which is a defining tradition of the Spanish culture.
During our Indian food outing, we had a one-on-one discussion with the owner, Happy, who was kind enough to give us a brief Indian food history lesson. I learned so much about the Indian culture and how that translates into signature dishes. These experiences have been invaluable to us as a company. We pride ourselves in being a custom caterer, and what better way to enhance our knowledge of food and different cultures than with food outings!
Courtney Hoff, Sales
The food field trips educate me personally so that I can speak more informatively about the tastes, preparation and presentation of food. It helps for me to understand the differing cultures and their cuisine and allows me to find ways to more effectively connect with our clients. I feel it adds incredible value to our clients to speak from firsthand experience.
Tiffany Johnson, Event Manager
Since we allow and actually encourage our clients to customize menus, the food field trips help me come up with suggestions. I am able to combine different ideas that I have seen on these field trips with some of our own in-house tried-and-true practices. I love developing unique ideas to individualize each event and to truly reflect each client’s culture and preferences. Sure, I could do this on my own by simply dining out more. But, dining and learning with the Robert Ryan Catering team and discussing the food as a group allows us to pull from all of our team’s different backgrounds and expertise. It really gets our creative juices flowing!
Amanda Smith, Event Manager
The foodie field trips really give me new ideas for different food pairings and ways to present the menu. Tasting all the different foods and learning about the different traditions allows me to speak professionally and knowledgeably from experience. I had never tasted Indian cuisine before, so it was a great educational opportunity for me. Now I feel that I can help guide clients in choosing cohesive menus.
Ready to start planning your party? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!
Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.