Recap: Our Night at the NACE Gala {San Francisco}

November 24, 2014 - by Shriya

On Thursday evening, the BFIW team enjoyed the company of San Francisco's National Association for Catering and Events members from across the Bay Area. The event was hosted at the historical Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco and boasted the attendance of over 150 NACE members.

The SF NACE is a professional association of caterers, event planners, wedding planners, and participants in the related industry. From hosting regular networking events to providing service and marketing tips, NACE builds a strong, supportive community of catering-related career people.

Needless to say, an event run by caterers and planners FOR caterers and planners was very successfully done. The theme was Rococo, referring to the 18th-century baroque style of elegance, artistic bravery, and intricate patterns.

Here with Ranjan Dey of New Delhi Restaurant, he is a hilarious and super nice guy! (And also does caters tons of Indian weddings in the bay area)

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Photo via Colson Griffith Photography

Of course, we represented our Indian heritage with our versions of formal attire. Preeti wore her red and green wedding lehenga, and I wore a black saree.

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As members of NACE, The Big Fat Indian Wedding was able to join the gala as a sponsor. We provided goody bags filled with bangles, snacks, and fun facts about Indian weddings. We'll also be seen at other NACE events in the future.

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This year's fundraising gala allowed both for NACE members to socialize informally and for them to donate to the featured charity, New Door Ventures. New Door Ventures is a program that helps underprivileged youth aged 18-24 find career opportunities with many of its partners. It provides guidance and a career path for young adults who are unable to pursue further education or acquire specialized skills on their own.

Attending the event, I truly felt like we were part of a bigger family. Every guest at the dinner was open-minded, curious about each others' businesses, and friendly. From interacting with some of the organizers and caterers of the event, I learned plenty about the meticulous efforts that go into planning such a fantastic event.

The gala began with a silent auction, in which some of the sponsors offered products or services that guests could bid on. We offered 2 4-hour henna sessions with Preeti.

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After the silent auction, guests mingled around the dessert buffet - which was the highlight of the event, even though we could only look but not touch until after dinner. The magnificent pink raspberry and rose macaron Eiffel Tower display was created by Fleur de Farine.

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During the dinner that followed, guests were entertained by excerpts of the local musical, Her Rebel Highness, performed by the original cast. The musical features rich, Victorian costumes with bold twists of colors such as purple and pink. We enjoyed both musical numbers and dramatic scenes performed before the dinner commenced.

The place setting was, expectedly, stunning. A light blue tablecloth was decorated with a white-rose textured table runner for an upscale look. The plates were china white and complemented by rose-tinted water goblets, which were charmingly of different shapes and sizes across all the guests. The large floral element, from the table runner to the towering, pastel centerpieces, added a light, fun flair to the classic event. 

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Dinner itself featured a 3-course meal of greens, steak, and a balanced cheese plate. Even as a vegetarian, I enjoyed the roasted vegetable main course and the ample supply of wine. The dinner was filling, but not overwhelmingly so - a perfect middle ground so that guests could finally enjoy the dessert buffet.

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The buffet included Fleur de Faline's macarons, a table with chocolatey sweets like brownies, cookies, and mousse, and a mini donut machine by Harvey's Gourmet Mini Donuts. After a long anticipation, I finally tasted the macarons after dinner and was delighted at their light, fluffy texture and delicious fruity, sweet taste.

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While I didn't get a chance to try the dessert table featuring cookies, cakes, and other goodies, it was wonderfully decorated in pastel blue - with labels to differentiate the vast array of treats displayed.

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The mini donut machine was as magical as expected, popping out fresh, hot donuts to be decorated with powdered sugar, chocolate drizzle, and sprinkles on the spot! The family business boasts "healthier" donuts, because these treats are only 24 calories a donut and cooked in soy oil instead of vegetable oil. I loved the concept of fresh, ready-to-decorate donuts and think it would be a perfect party ensemble for children and adults alike.

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The event further featured a photobooth by Snapfiesta, where guests could take wacky photos with props and create a flip book.

Overall the night was well-planned and excellently executed. Thanks to the NACE Board, we enjoyed a fun evening of meeting similar food enthusiasts and making new friends! And most importantly, as all caterers know, the food, drink, and desserts were memorably delicious.

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