Tanger Gala Elizabeth Hoard Photography 103 Of 282 E1448429358581

Tanger Outlet VIP Opening Gala


A couple months ago I received a call asking me if we could cater for 2000 people.  Of course I said “sure” knowing that this would be the largest event in Draper’s Catering history.  Every year we cater an event for about 1500 but never have we done one so big and so complex.  My instructions were to put together a menu with a wide variety of upscale passed appetizers and 3 food stations, themed around 3 styles or tastes of cuisine.   Each of these stations was to have an interactive component.


The Menu

For passed appetizers, here’s what we did:

Chicken Stuffed Puffs (These are probably our all-time most popular appetizer choice)
Savory Cheese Tarts (Soft cheese spread in a savory tart shell with a hint of raspberry)
Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Avocado Crostinis
Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos
Shrimp Shots (By far the most popular that night)

For the themed Stations, we did a Southern Station, an Italian Station, and an Asian Station.  The Southern Station consisted of BBQ Martinis, Smoked Sausage and Cheese, and Chicken and Waffles.  The Italian Station was a made-to-order Pasta Bar with Marinara and Alfredo Sauces and toppings such as sauteed peppers and onions, sauteed mushrooms, Italian sausage, garlic butter shrimp, grilled chicken, and fresh spinach.  Served with the pasta was an assortment of Caprese and Antipasto Skewers and miniature bowls of Caesar Salad with Crispy Prosciutto.  The interactive portion of the Asian station was Lo Mein Noodle Bar with vegetarian and chicken options and an assortment of sauces.  To complement, we also served Vegetable Spring Rolls, Teryaki Seared Scallops, and of course, fortune cookies!

The Decor

IMG_6906The design theme of the event was rustic Southern holiday.  We incorporated wooden crates, wine boxes, cast iron chafing dishes, iron griddles, and these great wooden trays made from wine barrel staves.  We even built special wooden boxes to us as chafing dishes for our Pasta Bar.  To complement the serving pieces, we used Verterra plates which are made from  fallen palm leaves and wooden flatware.  The rest of the Decor was designed by the talented Oliva Ward with Studio 1524.  She turned an empty space into an amazing work of art.  From the lighting and floral to the custom tablecloths and soft seating, she worked her magic and transformed what was a couple days earlier and dusty construction site into a magnificent backdrop for an amazing party.  Mahaffey Tent & Party Rentals provided fantastic rentals such as wooden farm tables, rustic wooden chairs, metal bistro tables and bar stools, and so much more.  My favorite part of the decor was, unfortunately, not seen by the guests that evening.  Due to fire codes, the amazing pallet wall that was to be the backdrop to the St. Jude silent auction had to be removed.  Luckily, I snapped a quick pictures before it was disassembled.

The S’mores

We really wanted to do something truly unique for dessert.  Nothing is more rustic than an old fashioned S’more around a campfire. Obviously we weren’t able to have a real campfire inside the building so we built a fake one in the center and used canned fuel (which is definitely food safe) to roast marshmallows.  Now we couldn’t just leave it at Hersheys, Graham Crackers, and Marshmallows.  We included additional candies such as Rolos, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Andes Mints for those who wanted to get creative.  We also provided Chocolate Graham Crackers, Fudge Striped Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Sugar Cookies as options to use in place of a regular Graham Cracker (although we had those too).

Check out some of the pictures from the event below.  A special thanks to Elizabeth Hoard with Elizabeth Hoard Photography for the great pictures!

– Ryan Draper, Operations Manager

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