1. With the whole farm-to-table movement, do you plan on sourcing food from local farms, or is that difficult to do with the amount of food you'll be serving to groups?
We are definitely sourcing from local farms. Having a sense of place for our event menus has been a huge focus. We are sourcing our produce locally-some cheeses, select meats, and we have even found a citrus grove that will be making fresh juices for us; we are very excited about that! We actually created many of our menu items around products that are available locally.
2. What innovating things will you be doing to wow groups who have potentially "seen it all"?
Just the nature of the resort, and the fact that it is unlike any other Four Seasons in North America, commends a very high level of creativity. We are so fortunate to have five dining outlets on property, each with a unique identity. Our banquet menus reflect the cuisine of each one of those outlets, because our clients want to get more of a restaurant feel, rather than traditional banquet food, even if it is for 500 people.
3. How are the meeting rooms different?
Our goal is to make a room look as residential as possible, without compromising on the functionality of the space. For example, all the meeting rooms have built-in projection equipment, which is really unique in Orlando. We have also completely moved away from linens, for meetings. All of our meeting tables, high tops and buffet stations are stainless steel and wood with different heights, offering infinite possibilities, for modern-looking setups. From a culinary standpoint, I don't believe we have a piece of silver (except for the high-quality table cutlery of course!). This is a good thing! We have induction cooking, carving, cooling and warming tables. I am very excited about what this means for interactive cooking during events.
4. What are meeting planners asking for these days?
Well, going back to my point earlier, they are really looking for a customized experience, with restaurant-style menus that are current, interesting and innovative. The presentations play a huge part in the overall feel of the event, and they love when we present never-seen-before ideas to them. Clients come here because they know we take great pride in the service we provide to them during the buying process, through the planning and execution of their program.
5. What kinds of special things can you do for meeting attendees? (Kosher, vegan, gluten-free)?
What kind of special things will we not do for meeting attendees? Truly, we accommodate any type of special requests. Even if there are no known allergies or special requests, the Chef will always have available vegetarian or chicken options (if we are serving beef), just in case ... it's part of going-the-extra-step our clients have come to expect of Four Seasons.