Can you feel the heat?

Author: Heather Martin

Heather Blog photo.jpg

Some say, if you can’t handle the heat stay out of the kitchen, and what I’ve found is that like the kitchen, the corporate events world can really heat up.

The majority of my background is in business and operations within the food and hospitality industry. The connection you feel by serving a really great meal at a restaurant, or a perfectly executed shift in a commercial kitchen, brings the same sort of satisfaction as the end of a successful event. The best meals and the best memories come from when you feel completely taken care of and understood, in a unique, memorable way. When your guests are able to forget about everything else they have going on and just be present in the moment. Here at ember, that goal remains the same for our clients. At ember we partner with companies who see our value, and who can put their full trust in us to pull off their events. This allows our clients to focus on their attendees and to accomplish what they actually planned the entire event for.

One of the similarities between events and the culinary world is that no matter how hard you try, you will always have something unexpected happen. Every day is different. No matter how many times you make the same recipe, it will always be a new batch and you will always have to start from scratch. With new venues, lots of people, and lots of moving parts, there is no way to accurately assess all of the possible challenges or issues that can occur. This is one reason that event planners and chefs tend to be perfectionists, but can still remain calm in order to handle vendor or guest issues. They know that something will always come up, so they are mentally prepared for the challenge. They know that their number one goal is to remove the stress from their guests so that they can enjoy themselves.

Experience is the best tool you can have in both the event world and the kitchen. You can’t buy it and you can’t read it in a book. The only way to truly learn is to dive in, head first. Once you see the relationship with vendors, the flow of events, the crucialness of sticking to the timeline, and the incredible power of tiny but memorable details – you start to appreciate the value of an event planner. The same goes for a great chef; a resume will only show so much. What really proves their value is their craft and a clean plate.

In events, just like in a restaurant, it is nearly impossible for one person to accomplish everything on their own. You have to lean on your team members, ask for help, and have faith in your vendors. I’m proud of what I have helped to accomplish in my time here – some highlights include spending 11 days in Grand Rapids for one of our longest events of the year, 4 days in Denver for a brand new client event, and 48 hours in Portland celebrating ember’s 11th birthday.

I feel incredibly lucky that ember was the door I walked into as my first real role outside of food and operations. Luckily, as it turns out for me, every good gathering at ember includes a delicious meal shared among a table of interesting people, so I never feel too far from my comfort zone.

Mindy Wright