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  • Brock Short

Shellie Morrison w/The Event Group


The Event Group is one of Northwest Arkansas' most well-known catering companies, and Owner/President Shellie Morrison is the OG of hospitality. Join us as we learn her favorite menu tricks, tips, and enjoy a bit of "food gossip" while you're at it!


*Below is the automated transcript of the above video


Hey, I'm Brock with Brock entertainment am Amanda with Amanda Reed weddings. And this is the IDOIQ Podcast, where each and every week we're gonna be discussing the latest in wedding and event trend. And we're going to let you know all the things that you need to know in order to make your event the most special. Yeah, and Indian, you will have the best wedding and event experience ever. And something tells me we're going to have a little fun along the way. I don't know about that. I'm a pretty serious guy, man. And this is a serious topic. So only seriousness, serious business. This is the IDOIQ podcast. Let's begin. Hey, it is Brock. Oh, and Amanda. This is the thing now Amanda and I say my name and then you say your name. I messed up the first couple of times. I'm better at it now, because you made such a big deal about it. Now, like you're not a professional. I'm Brock. And this is this is the IDOIQ podcast Do you want to introduce yourself? I would love to love to you. We are here today with my very good friend, Shelley Morrison from the event group. No let you give your whole spiel about everything that you've ever done in your entire life story in a second, but you are the President hbic I'll let you figure out what that stands for. Yo, why don't we have the group? Yeah, she's a female entrepreneur has started a really amazing company several years ago, but I'll let you give your your your story. Let's hear about your background. Where'd you come from? Wow. Yeah, started stormy night. All the stuff. Right. I was born in Siloam. springs attended the U of A and was a journalism major, actually. Oh, so what did you want to do with that? I wanted to be a magazine writer. Okay, what was your favorite magazine? 17. Right. Cosmo. Are you kidding? so deep. I, of course wanted to follow in Helen Gurley Browns footsteps and you know, work for cosmopolitan? Oh, yeah. You know, of course. That's awesome. So, um, after graduation, I got a job with the University in their conference and meeting department doing PR advertising, things like that. Then I was promoted to be a conference coordinator. And so I planned meetings and events. And that's kind of how this career started. Okay. And basically, the event group started because I didn't get a promotion. I didn't have anywhere else to go. Can you feel the loss? Yeah, as right. How many years ago was that? Too many? I mean, it was in the mid 90s. Okay, wow, I didn't want to work in a hotel, even though that's a great job. And I just didn't feel like that was something I wanted to do. And at the time, there weren't really a lot of planners in the area. So I started my own business. A friend just said, Hey, why don't you start your own business? I was like, okay, not really knowing anything about it. But I think we can both relate to that. We're like, Sure, okay. Great. And when you're just young enough and stupid enough to not realize what you're doing exactly. It works out sometimes. So did a lot of things. I was a planner, mainly for corporate events, conferences, meetings, I coordinated the chili pepper, cross country festival for young years, those types of things. And then in 2000, we expanded into the catering. And that pretty much became the primary focus of our company at that time. So we That's right. That's right. Have you always been Are you a foodie? Do you consider yourself a foodie? No, I never did. Honestly, I just fell into it. I mean, I just saw a need at the time in the area, there just weren't a lot of caterers. So we saw the need because I was hiring, catering for events that I was helping with. So I just saw the need, and that's how it started. So you thought why not hire myself hire myself? That's true. You'd rather lose that business to yourself. You're not gonna get you know, you want to you want to do that business? Why? I mean, why not? Well, and keep in mind the biggest perception about me and the businesses that I'm the person that actually cooks here is that Yeah, and I'm not Have you ever cooked No, not for the business. For my family. You just coordinate it, make sure it has no idea everything else I deal with the clients and relationships, their high, you know, deal with our staff, anything other than producing the faith going back to the word relationships and the word 17 magazine. I did subscribe to 17 magazine when I was in high school. Okay, why? Because I wanted to get into the mind of a teen girl hasn't surprised me? Because I thought maybe I can use this to up my game. Wow, did it work? No, it didn't work but what I love good tips. Did you ever read 17 right strategy? Yeah, it was I had a section of girl horror story. Yeah, we're gonna love that. That was pretty the best. I was always like, who actually wrote these in now I think back and I'm like, those were actually just people who like made up For sure I look back now we know the behind the scenes right at the time I was like, Oh, I can't believe that happened to that. That never happens to me, which is exactly what they're and then the next page, there's an ad for cortex. That makes total sense. Yeah. Well, before we move on, let's get into my favorite part of the show opinions, not opinions. And what obsession obsessions. That's. Oh, it starts with a no, what are you obsessed with right now? Amanda? Okay. Mine's kind of embarrassing, but I mean, not really. I never watched madman. I never watched it. I don't know why. It's going off of Netflix in a month. Oh, I'm bingeing. I'm obsessed. I'm like, I'm hardcore. Are you done with it? Or we're about halfway, probably. And so are you a big fan of Don Draper? embarrassingly? Yeah. Like he's terrible. Like when you're watching the horse, I am. swooning for sure. I'm on the Draper training. Okay. I mean, Don Draper is the ultimate bad boy. He is. Want, you know, even in the last season towards the end where you like, cuz he kind of I know he's dark. I know. There's a lot of dark in there, for sure. Don't tell the ending. But I will say that I wasn't disappointed with the ending. No, I wasn't either. It makes sense. Many people I somehow have managed to kind of like, stay away from the spoilers for all these years. And I just don't know why I never I just never picked up on it. And now I'm like, any of the day. I'm like, I don't I don't. Yeah, so I'm like trying to catch up and get all and I love that era. I love that time. The advertising we were talking about a minute ago. I'm like, Oh my gosh, that's just like that is just that's that's does that make you want to switch careers and get into the advertising game? Not really tons of cigarettes. A lot of cigarette not to not when you're a woman. Not that one woman. She's She's pretty cool. She's getting it. Yeah. If you haven't watched Mad Men, you got to watch them. Yeah, but you've got a month. It's all well, by the time this airs less than a month is off June 10. Often, and then where's it going? I don't know. It's up in the air. They could rebid for it. I don't know. But it should be on AMC bill. I think so. Yeah. So it'll mean I'll be able to catch it on you know, big weekend watch, but I'm gonna finish it. Yeah. So good. Shelley, what are you obsessed with? For talking about TV shows? I Well, we're okay, if you want to be obsessed with, you know, my husband and I, we were really into longmeyer. And it's on Netflix to not watch. You have to watch it. It's about a sheriff in Wyoming. And there's a Native American piece to it, and a lot of corruption. And it's just really good. Basically the story of my life. I'll try to share for the native Lou Diamond Phillips says, Oh, I could have a flashback. Lots of stars that you'll see in other shows like cozaar I've heard of it, but I've just never seen it. Yeah, I've heard of it too. And I just haven't it's just hasn't popped up into my my feet enough to make me. Yeah, maybe turn it on, though. And reading I mean, I'm reading constantly I read at night before bed. So hope to learn to read someday. I love reading my mind. I love to read but I just never make enough time for it. I just don't I hate that. I mean, when I actually sit down and read I can read you know, five or six books in you know, in a couple weeks. A couple years and in my life. No. I used to love to read when I was a kid. Yeah. And even into my teens, but I don't know. Yeah, book on tape. Now. That word I can do a podcast I can I do a lot I listen to a lot. So my obsession right now is I'm actually wearing it. It's these built t shirts B why Lt. This podcast brought to you by T shirts. There's no one is paying you. Well, I love t shirts. They're like form fitting no really form fitting but they're like workout shirts. They don't sweat. They don't. They don't wrinkle. In this shirt I have on I accidentally washed it with some Burt's Bees Burt's Bees this podcast brought to you by Burt's Bees. And it left grease stains on it. Yeah, right. Yeah. Like oh god, how do you get out of grease stain? How do you get angry stain? I think chalk talk is supposed to be one of the things even after you've washed it and dried it. I didn't know about that. But anyway, but you know now after the drying Yeah, I don't know. dish soap. Like dawn, Dawn, Dawn. So can we do is you lay it out, put it on all the stains and just let it sit for several hours and it gets it out. I can't believe it. I didn't know that till my sister in law told me and I was so bummed because this is one of my favorite shirts that I have from them and I have a bunch of them and so I went and bought the same shirt again on their website and then she told me the next day so now I have two of these shirts. Thanks bill built apparel. Check them out online. One day someone's gonna actually you're gonna it's gonna happen but yeah, I really like t shirts. They make tank tops and make sure to make pants it's kind of a let's talk about since we're talking about tank tops. How do we feel about the man the man tank I wear tanks while you do not only when I work out or when I DJ in trouble. I mean it's a thing when I DJ weddings if it's warm at least 30 degrees or more. I'm working. I'm wearing the tank because I want the guests to feel like that guy comfortable. uncomfortable. No, I have a friend of mine around here is a is a photographer in Michigan and he sent me a picture one time he's like, dude, check this out. And the DJ was wearing glasses, a tank top and shorts, any pants and everybody else's in tuxedo. Oh my gosh, I don't know who this guy is. But he's probably going to be really fun. No, I don't I only wear tank tops when I workout or I'm going to swim or something like that. I'm not just wearing tank tops to show off my muscles. I just feel like that's fine. Feel like the the the accessories you have under your arms are just a little too much per tank top under on here. Yes. Don't have that. Okay, well, there we go. I'm not I'm not I keep mine trim. Okay, or I don't shave it but it's really trim because I don't like an arm here. Alright, fair enough. Yeah, I learned that from my friend miles rip Boyer check out miles with Borger photography online. Stop poking through, and I don't have I don't do chest hair. I don't do body hair. Fun Facts with let's leave it at the bell. Let's get into the nitty gritty of catering. First off, I have a kick off question. taste testing, ah, food tasting. How does that work? Where do we go from the beginning? Well, first of all, he's very upset that you didn't bring him samples today. He's trying to walk around. He didn't really want to talk to you. He really just wanted you to bring him in and said, Hey, I got Shelly, she's gonna be bringing some food. Give us a taste. Yeah, so what what? What's the initial like? I'm, we're a couple. How does this start when we're booking our catering? So the thing that normally happens? Is they a person a bride or groom calls and they say, we want to know how much it would cost to cater our wedding? And can we schedule a tasting? And they're like, well, let's jump back a little right. First, let's get some details, you know, find out a little bit more about what you're expecting. My biggest thing is, I don't do a tasting without first doing a written proposal of a menu. And because a couple of things, they may not can afford something until they know what the price is. So I don't want to have them taste something that they potentially can afford, and love it and love it and then be really disappointed. You know, and it wastes their time and hours. So I do the written proposal. First we go over the menu, and then we taste the things that they might be most unsure about when people want to taste like a garden salad or rolls. I mean, that's just kind of it's just looking at me like, you know, looking for a frame. Yeah. So just taste the things that you're not sure about. Now, we can certainly do the whole meal, if they want that experience, the tasting at that point would have a charge. So we do our tastings complimentary, provided they're just trying two or three things that they're trying to decide between. So no, I like I like what you said to begin this is let's jump back when you do get a lot of emails or calls. And the first question is, how much do you cost? What do you cost? Well, there's a bunch of information that I need, you know, as a wedding DJ that you need is a planner that you can't just put a number on, it's like, well, are you doing this? Are you doing this? Are you doing this? So if you're listening to this, and you're getting married, take that into consideration. Don't just jump out and say, What are your charges? What are you right now some of those emails I get all we're getting married on this date? How much do you cost? Well, here's a list of questions I need answered before, right. And we go into that you hate to be like an order taker, right? You're trying at least I'm trying with the food. And I'm sure you are with the music because you want to know what they're all about a little bit more about him so that you can talk intelligently about what you might suggest in the way of music. Same with food, we have, you know, a set menu to send to people for one thing to kind of make sure they know what things cost, and they can see what a budget could look like. And there are some people that have never planned an event before and they just don't know what things cause I've never hosted a party, they have no idea so that kind of I don't want to say weed some people out but the person that has a very unrealistic budget and I have seen budgets Oh yeah. $3 a person. Oh, wow. So for those people, it either send them a picture of the dollar menu or McDonald's. It either weeds those people out or it makes them realize, okay, we need to up our budget quite a bit. Food is a big thing. You don't realize how much it costs per person going in. Especially if you've never planned an event. I know at my wedding, I had no idea like this would be about 15 to $20 per person. I'm like what otherwise I don't even like these people that much. What about hors d'oeuvres? Well, and then multiply that out by 250. Or sometimes they're like, Well, my food budget is $3,000. And I've got five, you know, 500 people invited and I'm like McDonald's dollar menu like I don't know, there's really not a way to make that work in a in a way that you're going to be happy, you just don't realize food, it just so much more than than labor. It's not just like slapping this hunk of beef on the table. Like there's a whole lot of preparation that goes into that. And y'all spend a lot of time we do think so that's why we're trying to find out a little bit more and develop a relationship with them. So we can find out if we do want to customize a menu that something they just really have to have or love, we can do that. So instead of being an order taker, and just like, okay, when's your wedding? Did it you know, and going down that whole list, we really tried to develop a relationship and hopefully be friends you know, with our brides and grooms. I've noticed lately though, the last couple of years, I feel like we've received a lot more calls from the groom's it's almost like they've said, Okay, we've got us on this guy's something today, give him a Don't let him call the caterer and he unfortunately doesn't always know, they're the ones typically, Hey, are you available this day? And how much is it gonna cost? And so we try to help them out, send out some information, we know, they're gonna have to go back and talk to the real boss, you know, whether it be the bride or her parents or someone so we do that, but it's really just about the tastings. They're just part of it. And we don't mind doing them just as long as it's in a controlled way. Yeah, great. Well, that can be a free for all, they definitely can be a free for all and things, you know, kind of get out of hand sometimes when when discussing all the different options because I have had clients before none that we related to necessarily, but I've had one, I mean, their menu was all over the place. And we had it took the caterer coming back and and going, Okay, we can do this. But you're getting up into the hundreds of dollars per head based on all these different options that you're wanting, is that really what you want to do? And they were kind of like, you know, not so much because and it was a great menu, but it was like you don't have to feed your people and around the world menu. Like it doesn't have to literally be something from every place you've ever traveled to like, let's hold it back. Have you ever done that though? Yeah. Have you ever done super fun? Yes. For a corporate event? I did it for a wedding. Yeah. So over here was a whole Italian sound like anything Italian you can think of? Yeah, over here was a Mexican bar. Yeah. And he had like three or four different I've done that. Yeah, I had a wedding. Actually over 500 people. It was insane. Yeah. And it was so good. Yeah, I'm not done one that it was done different stations with like, this is kind of the Italian this. Yeah, the tacos. And it goes over very well. People. I don't know how much they spent on that. And it was also I mean, it was in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Yeah. And it was in the arena for the college basketball team. Oh, was where it was. That's how many people they had the only place that they could fit them all. It was nuts. But it was great eating. And it was right in front of me. So you don't eat anything. Now I know that a couple of things add hummus and being in it now. Yeah, I haven't met events I feed him. It's hard. It is hard to feed. So how many events do you typically do you know, every year all together and then break it out from like weddings and you know, corporate events? And you don't have to count 2020? No. You can explain to what? Oh, for sure. Oh, that's so hard. I would say we do around on average three to 400 events a year? Yeah, probably 60% of those are corporate related. And the other percentage, what do you like better corporate or weddings? Because they're, they're pretty different. They're different. I would say we spend less time on corporate events. Uh huh. It's usually I'm talking to the client. It's someone that's a repeat client. Most of the time, I know what they want. A lot of times, they let me pick, you know, the food, we have a theme, I just have a lot more freedom to just go with it. weddings, we spend a lot more time especially if there isn't a planner, we're put into that role. A lot of times as far as the layout and the timeline and a lot of the details that we just have to know in order to do our job. And it really isn't our job to do but we have to do it. So I would say I love what I do. So it's hard for me to really pick one but as far as easiest, it would be corporate. Okay, for sure. I would say the same. I mean, I would I think any of it are emotional. They're able to say, Alright, got a party, I've got this, I need this, I need this. It's a lot easier to kind of dictate the things that they're requesting. And that's it. It's not emotional for the most part, right. And usually we have less people involved. And so when it's just up to me, I can really make it something. Yeah. Awesome. And yeah, if we're dealing with a lot more people that you're trying to please it tends to be more like, you know, focused in a bit. Absolutely. Let me ask this. This is something that I have experienced. And I'm curious to know your take on this. But when if someone were to say, well, we really liked this, but we also really liked this restaurant that you know, they they offer catering that our friends, our friends offered catering at this restaurant. What would you say to someone who were who was who's considering hiring a restaurant as their caterer? no shade to any restaurant? Let me make that clear. Some restaurants are good at that, right? Yes. And I'm gonna like, I have to start out because I have 10s of friends in the restaurant business. Absolutely. We have lots of restaurant favorites that we go to, yes, I love our restaurant friends. And a few of them do a great job that do profess to do full service catering. Agreed. But there is a huge difference between restaurant catering and full service event catering by and large, okay? I mean, the fact that we take and put so much time into it at a restaurant, you're trained in one location, pretty much the same menu, the same staff, catering, we're going to tons of locations all over the area, we have to be experts about each location. And know what works great at this location. What doesn't work so great at this location, we have to know what they include. Is there a nice machine? Do they have you know, how do we unload here? All of the things they may have running water? Or? Sure, yeah. It's a very big deal. I we have to know and be so flexible. We have to perhaps turn the room over flip it, you know, unexpected surprises, I just think that restaurants aren't as equipped to handle that, as a full service cater, right? And you know, there's changes to we are we can adapt so quickly, no wedding or event goes off without some sort of change. We can plan and have it just as planned as we want it to be and just think it's just perfectly planned. And there will be some sort of something always that happens every single day. No, it's fine. But we can roll with that. Restaurants maybe not so much. We also make sure we have plenty of staff, there's a big difference between catering and delivery, absolutely there, or delivery with one person when you have 300 people. All right, or just the equipment we use. All of this goes into an experience that is way above the food. It's about so many other things. So how do you handle a situation where more people show up? And they didn't order enough food? I really haven't had that happen too often. Yeah, I think people are I'm pretty pretty. What's the word? I pretty much discuss all of this in our meetings with the dryer. You know, you're very, you're very, you're very honest and open with your clients. I am I try to be I tried to tell them if something will work or not. If I think it won't work, if I think it will make them look bad. I will let them know. It's their decision, then if they choose to follow my advice, right. You know, they may have been planning this one event, but we've planned 1000s Exactly. So and then later when they choose to do what they wanted to do. And it happens the way I said it would I mean, I hate when that happens, but it's not on you because you bought it does happen. Right? I've had an experience once with a caterer not your company, obviously because you know, the story I was gonna tell but I I've had one, the buffet was too short, they spent a large amount of money on the food for this event mother, the bride doesn't have a plate I go to you know, my team goes to premiere a plate and there's literally nothing left. Nothing left for her. And I mean, I'm like scraping together the last few kind of dried potatoes that I could mean like here's two half pieces of salmon I tried to kind of squish together for her and I took it to the caterer and I was like there's no What am I supposed to feed the person who's paying the bill and she just kind of looked at me like I don't know. Oh, yeah, that but so to me and I'm not I'm not like a I'm not really a three strikes you're out kind of person. I'm certainly not a one strike you're out kind of person. But for me that kind of did it for there to not be a little bit of a backup a little bit of a especially knowing what they'd spent on this for them to have run out it didn't make sense. It didn't add up to me at all. So let's roleplay This was Shelly you are doing this let me tell you what might have happened in that case if what can happen is the guests go through the line we're waiting on the pictures to finish and so sometimes they go ahead and let the guests go ahead and eat did that happen? And they probably did. So that means the wedding party the parents they're not there right now or so the guests gone through the line if it's taking a long time and you're now having people come back for seconds. Oh badly where that can happen. That did not what we do that is okay. That did not happen where uncle Gary's Wait, you say give me that salmon. You already had some? Back off. So what we do is we really we're watching and we're making sure that everybody's been through now worse, we will not replenish the very last of everything until we know the wedding party has arrived. That's when we when we hear you announce them, then it's like we refresh the buffet. We get it all out there where it looks nice again, and not like somebody just throwing food all around the table and we are ready for the people that paid most likely a bridal party. Well, that's a good tip for for any other caterer out there that isn't doing it that way. That's actually really smart. I do like that. Right. I think that relates to very carefully planning how the event goes to how the event is structured in that you know that everyone comes in they either seated and knowing when those certain people that need to be fed, ie mother of the bride, brother, the bride, potentially bride and groom most the time, you know, I think you and I both try to feed them separately because we know that they're not going to so by the time they move into the event the party starts you know, then you know everybody's eating, everybody's kind of finished up and then we move on to our letting our friend Brock takeover but I it was painful to watch. I know. I know that would never ever happen. So I wasn't trying to throw you on the spot there. Oh, no, no, it hurt my heart. So then back walk out to the mom and be like, go, like do reaction. She was surprised. I think she was disappointed. And you're like I'm disappointed to know and you know, it never came up again. So maybe maybe she'd had enough cocktails and she didn't really care. I don't really know she wasn't overly concerned about it. But it really bothered me just knowing that this woman had written a very hefty tech for considerably smaller group. I mean, it wasn't a huge amount of guests and and to have run out of food just didn't feel it didn't feel right. Something. I don't know. I don't know. They skimped but I don't feel like that they over prepared enough because I'm with a buffet. I know you. You're right. They could they could go through a second time or just take too much the first time my husband is one of the worst. I mean, if the serving is a couple of meatballs, he's taking six. I mean, he's he routine is definitely one of those. But he's definitely one of those people that gets it's playful. Yeah. And you know, that balances out. But anyway, I don't know. I just think it's very, it was it was painful to watch though it really was and it hurt to walk up to her and be like, here's the best I could do. Sorry. So speaking of a buffet, there's different types of ways you can you beat people out of wedding than buffet, you know, individually. What do you like the most? And what do you see the most at wedding? Well, certainly we see the face the most, just because that's the easiest, or probably the easiest. It's the least expensive, okay, when you go into a plated meal, which is the next option that can cost more because of the labor, but it's certainly a more formal serving style. And then the stations that you brought up earlier that can have different types of food. Those are very popular right now. And we've been doing a lot of those and then the family style family style. Yes, thank you. Okay. Which isn't my favorite at all. So of that that's my least favorite. It's been super trendy the last couple years, I've had a lot of people request it don't think that's gonna happen again for a while. I think that's probably all family. So yeah, I think it's off the table for the foreseeable future. What about buffets? how's that gonna work? Right. So we, we can still do buffets, but our staff has to personally serve each item to the guests. So we'll be on the backside of the buffet. So nobody will be the guests won't be reaching out, they won't be touching. I like that anyway, I prefer it in a way to I really do. won't run into that situation where uncle Eddie is getting way too much of the green stuff, or the red stuff. That was the blue stuff. The only thing that you might have to consider as a planner, when you're looking at this is to make sure that you realize it's going to be slower now. So you might want to account if there's space for more lines, right? More staff. Yeah. And it will cost a little bit more now because an event that I have coming up next week that would have required to staff now I need for staff. Okay. So it's just it's a little bit more because of that, but I think it definitely outweighs the risk. Everything's more labor intensive right now, though. And that's I think, I think people are starting to understand that. But it's just everything we're doing is taking a little bit more effort a little bit more work a little bit more pen to paper, just trying to figure out how to make it happen. We've had multiple conversations already about one particular event. And so thinking through how can we make this happen as close to what their initial wish was, and still maintain the safety level that that we all have to right now. Yeah, you know, though, and you won't even be able to have a beverage station right now. Oh, really. We'll have a station but there'll be a staff member assigned to the station. So they will feel your tea or whatever the beverage is and hand it to you. You know what they shouldn't do? Get ready for this. What is it? No. I two things actually. This is really an idea when serving food you could be like Lambert's home of the throat rolls. Talking as the parent app. Yeah, that was my first thing. The second one is you just hand out and this could be your takeaway gift from the wedding cake helmets. And you could put the beverage in your helmet. Yeah. It says the couple's name, Brock and Amanda in their wedding date, and then you just have the people go by you need a refill and refill their second homies Reference Desk anyway. Well, you're here. Um, you would have to have a chin strap. Because if you're out on the dance floor, right with the helmet, I interfere with the mask. I know how to work the helmet. Maybe it's a whole contraption, like a mask helmet. I'm just throwing out ideas. He's looking for a sponsor. He's looking for a news today I do IQ brought to you by mask. Drink shadow jig. million dollar idea. million dollar team. Up next. Oh my gosh, I love it. I want to know if you feel like the event group. I don't know if we even said the name of the company in the last 30 minutes. But it has been on the screen. Good. Thank you, producer for time. You know, I want to know do you have Do you feel like you have a signature dish? Do you feel like you have something that is like you're well known for or that you execute extremely well, like what do you feel like is maybe your specialty? Wow, we have so many things. We have some things on our menu that have been on the menu for 20 years just because they're so popular like arm bruschetta. Oh, I love you. Oh my god. I can't eat it. And I'm in the back. You know, I come by. So good. It is so good. We have a couple of new chefs that have been with us since the fall. And so we have been producing some really great new favorites. The thing that I'm loving right now is unfortunately we had this event that canceled it was a university event but we had created this whole Arkansas themed menu, not Razorback but Arkansas. So things that Arkansas produces with rice grapes, you know, poultry you can imagine, okay, it's in the state. And it was so cool. I really want to see more of that creativity in menus even with a wedding. I mean, I think it would be fun to have more themes that are just something special for the bride grandmas biscuit. Exactly. Yeah. So just making it a signature thing for the event. I'm really loving Southern food. Yeah, the twist. What's the twist? Well, like you have mac and cheese, but it's just a little bit better you're using grew Yay. And you're using you know fancy cheese and maybe some truffle oil. And you have it is a twist a lot more upscale ness to it. So that I love it. I love right now. So how do you deal with people who may have food allergies, maybe vegan? And they're super cool. How do you deal with that? Especially if you don't know beforehand? Well, we have to know beforehand. Because if we show up at the event, we don't have anything there other than the food that we brought to create something or we're in a space that doesn't have a kitchen that we could cook in even if we wanted to. So people are pretty good about telling us any of the allergies or special diets. I mean, we have gluten free vegan vegetarian I don't see hardly anymore. I know that's more related to free and vegan. Yeah, I love the gluten free people though that are drinking beer or not that any sense? I think that's I think there's a big difference and there is between celiac 10 gluten free there is no like gluten. I don't feel great when I have gluten. Okay, that's different than my body can't process it. Right. I have a right I have a genuine allergy to this. So that's very interesting. You have an intolerance to gluten to where it just makes you feel the right but do you want to hear Fun fact? Do you like Moscow mules? Yeah, ginger beer. Yes. Ginger Beer. is gluten free. Okay. Not made with wheat. Just awesome. Yeah, I will say when I do it's an actual allergy. We are so careful. Yeah, there's someone that has a seafood allergy and there's seafood on the menu. We will change gloves wash our hand Wow. Even before all the stuff that's going on now and prepare their plate first so they know that no possibility that anything's contaminated. I love that I have it because I don't want anyone to get sick or go into shock or something no matter where they would be the worst. Now what? What food going back to what signature dish you have. What do you think you're known for food wise at the event group? Gosh, I think our garlic mashed potatoes years ago had those because I've been vegan for so long, but I do remember them and they were delicious. Is there a decent substitute for mashed potatoes like mashed cauliflower? That's not the thing. It is good but it's not the same now and you have to put chicken broth in it. Yeah. Yeah, your potatoes are priced. chicken marsala is very rigid. Has that been on the menu for all 20 years or no, it hasn't. Okay, who came up with that? When you chefs, you know, it's a obviously it's a known dish that has been around forever. We had a Marsala that we had on the menu, and I never liked it that much. So I wouldn't say, yeah. I want you to have this. And if I like it, then I'm selling it on Azure. So we changed it a couple years ago. And it's just so popular. We have people in for a tasting, and they're trying to decide between two chicken dishes and they almost always pick that one. Right? So, I mean, what do you have at your wedding? Food wise? I had a giant like overflowing buffet. My vision was just like food that just kind of was piling out of every I mean, and I don't even go at me. It's like, yeah, dinner or heavy order. It was dinner but but comprised of a lot of heavy hors d'oeuvres as well. So, I mean, it was almost very like Renaissance feast with like, the greatest feeling. Yeah, it was beautiful. Like the chef that we used was, it was it wasn't here. Did you have scantily clad women walking? Not like Roman Empire? was Jim Ed wearing a Greek token? Yes, he was. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, no, yeah, that was kind of my vision. And of course, it was, you know, a long time ago, many years ago. And now things are a lot more streamlined, a lot more modern, a lot more contemporary with, you know, the things that I'm liking right now that work perfectly with the state that we're in for safety are the small plates. Those have been around for a while, but really hasn't caught on in this area. And that's just a perfectly pre portioned small. Let's say it's a wonderful piece of beef with a mashed potato or something in a very small portion on a small plate. But then you have several small plates to make up your meal. Just had a great idea. Oh, god, oh, no. Another thing that you could do, where it would have your name and stuff on it can be a happy meal for your guests as the food in it has a small plate in it. And they take it you just hand it out. They open it up. The whole thing folds down. Yeah. And the food right there. So you're not having to serve the food. It's already there. Alright, Happy Meal style, I think for sure, but let's get a little classier. I mean, the packaging would look nice. It wouldn't be in there wouldn't be an uprising. I mean, you know, why would there be a prize? We could have a golden egg. I don't know. If they're doing Yeah, cuz we all do bubbles. Or when you open it up, there's a picture of the bride and groom that you can call her. Yeah. Oh, that's great idea. I love that rock. So bento boxes, those are love that that's a cute idea. Each guest gets her own little bento box takes it eats it. Ah, me is that feasible, do you think is that something that you absolutely be able to make happen can be served to the guest individually, or it can be at a station that the guest comes up and grabs around, you're going to see a lot of individual items, whether it be a plated meal that's more traditional, or just individual plates of small amounts of food, and the guests will get those and you know, you'll you'll either serve them or they'll come to a station to pick them up. So I do love that and actually had it I had a wedding in Dallas this past summer. Or it was at the modern in the modern art museum, Fort Worth actually. And they one of the things that's kind of their specialty on the menu is the micro meals, something similar to what you're saying where they would go to a chef prepared station, and they would get a small plate that had you know, a protein, a starch and a vegetable like that. That was it was wonderful. And the guests really responded well to it. And I think there were two different two different menu stations and then like a small salad station, it went over really well. So I've been excited to see that kind of trickling up into our area a little bit too. So I'm glad that you mentioned that because I think that's it went over very well. This would be the perfect time to drop the Willy Wonka gum. Like in the movie that has Oh, roast beef and mashed potatoes. Oh, it's dessert blueberry pie. Like it would be perfectly right now is the time where Walker calling you out? Oh my gosh, stop it. Well, today's show brought to you by Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. So for the person that does want stations, yeah, ring style, this would be a nice, great compromise. It's deliver stations. It's just not self serve. It's just actually really prefer again, I really like that better than you know. Okay, so here's a question then how big are these stations and I know a lot of venues in this area depending on the people can be smaller and it's hard to fit in a big buffet with you know, so many guests in attendance because I know you know, as a DJ they're like well, there's really no room for you where we get to where we're gonna set like how are we gonna play music? Well, we want you outside and so how does having more than one station work and with that layout of a room?


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