Wow! What a Team!
By Jody Steele, Member Since 2005
As we were all welcoming family and friends for the holidays, our Banquet Team was getting dining opportunities ready to help us celebrate in style. Executive Banquet Chef Andrew Ames, Executive Pastry Chef Santiago Puga, and Garde- Manger (cold pantry) Chef Jackie Pena lead the teams for the preparation of all catered events on The Reef, plus Reef food specialties for many of our restaurants.
The excitement begins to build before Thanksgiving, goes on to Vintage Weekend, and then continues into the two festive holiday weeks beginning on December 24th through January 1st. Chef Ames credits a talented and dedicated team that works beautifully together, some for many years at The Reef, to create memorable dining events for Members to enjoy.
If you attended the Festival on the Green, a Street Fair, the Gingerbread Tea, stopped at the Food Truck, or attended a Starlight Dinner, to just name a few, you reaped the benefits of these chefs and their cooks. Some arrive at 3 a.m. to prepare such traditional dishes as the Reef soups, including the famous clam or conch chowder, while others appear a bit later and make the delicious smoked fish dip, all of the salad dressings, the crab cakes, and my favorite—the chicken salad.
Along with all the major holiday events, the Banquet Team caters countless Member parties, large and small around The Reef. It is a special time to have a family reunion, a neighborhood cocktail party, or a personal event such as our 50th Wedding Anniversary family dinner that was totally perfect, including a weddingmcake.
So what did we eat from Christmas Eve through January 1st?
How about these numbers?
720 lbs. of waffle fries
And those soups…during that little chilly spell, the Raw Bar ustomers wanted soup. Chef Ames said they made a record amount of soup and chili.
122 gallons of clam chowder
86 gallons of conch chowder
Then our sweets—if you saw the array of desserts at the Festival on the Green prepared by Chef Santiago and his team, you most likely were amazed. The crowds could not get enough and lined up three deep for the churros, the cupcakes, and my favorite, the apple turnovers.
Sweet tooth numbers were impressive, too.
600 lbs. of flour
140 lbs. of churros
Looking ahead, you will see the Banquet Team at upcoming Cultural Center shows, weddings, Reef Cup, Easter week, Food and Wine Festival and many more. They are here to prepare fare for our special occasions so we can thoroughly relax and be confident that our events are in the best of hands. Congratulations to the Banquet Team for another phenomenal holiday season!