Food & Drink

Food Play

Food is one of the most compelling event elements there is for bringing people together. Whether folks eat to live or live to eat, breaking bread together and sharing a food experience forges a common bond.

shotberriesShotberry

In today’s gourmet-crazy world, it’s all about culinary adventures. Here are eight interactive foodalicious event ideas that go beyond a typical sit-down:

Unique Eats

Guests simply love food novelties! What could be more fun than shooting a shot of booze into a luscious, confection-bedazzled strawberry before biting into it for a flavour-filled explosion? Shotberry’s delicious mini-bite dessert strawberries are dipped in chocolate, rolled in a variety of yummy topping choices then punctured with a pipette of liquor for guests to squeeze before eating. Milk chocolate and Skors pieces with Bailey’s Irish Cream and white chocolate with Oreo bits and pink moscato are popular combinations. Alcohol-free infusions and custom-designed strawberries are available. Brand the pipettes or add edible logos to the strawberries. For an on-site Shotberry bar, order a selection of ready-made dipped and coated berries and invite guests to choose their matching potion.


Inventive Toasts

barchefBarChef Photo credit: Leanne NeufeldCocktails at BarChef aren’t just for sipping. They are imaginative masterpieces designed for ogling, exclaiming over, assembling, deconstructing, even eating! Bar owners Frankie Solarik and Brent VanderVeen are pioneers in modernist and molecular mixology employing culinary techniques and ingredients, blowtorches, frozen carbon dioxide and out-there plating garnishes like moss and wood chips for a multi-sensory experience. The Cedar cocktail (pictured) is one example, with gin, cacao soil, cedar air, pear eau de vie, pear, fennel and chamomile bitters, and chamomile syrup. In addition to its curated on-site drinks menu, BarChef also caters events with customized libations and offers hands-on cocktail classes and teambuilding.


Feed The Soul

foodshareFoodShare

Give back to community with a FoodShare volunteer teambuilding event. The non-profit organization, which delivers food and nutrition education to those who need it, runs several programs that require volunteer support. Groups of up to 15 can help with packing the hundreds of Good Food Boxes the organization delivers daily. Tasks include loading the boxes with fresh vegetables and fruits or chopping ingredients for the pre-portioned offerings in the Wellness Box to make food preparation easier for groups like seniors. From November to April, use those knife skills to slice and dice ingredients for the Power Soup program that delivers warm, nutritious soups to organizations that serve the homeless. Helping hands are also needed for compost duty, to pack ShareBaskets and more.


Food In Action

kiss-the-cookKiss The Cook CateringInteractive food stations with tempting and creatively displayed build-your-own options and live-action chefs cooking to order are soaring in popularity. “Guests want to be a part of the food preparation process. Having a hand in custom-creating the flavour outcome while also having a chance to speak and ask questions of chef creates a total learning experience,” notes Fia Pagnello of Kiss The Cook Catering. The firm offers an extensive menu of interactive station options with truffle mac and cheese with self-help embellishments of lobster, peas, caramelized onions and more, topping the popularity list. Fresh and healthy is also on the menu with Pho, Hawaiian poke and build-your-own nacho stations.


Heighten The Senses

signs-restaurant-barSigns Restaurant & BarThere are two concept restaurants in town that, in challenging diners to use their senses in ordering and eating, offer a uniquely interactive social learning experience. Guests at Signs Restaurant & Bar are encouraged to use sign language to order and communicate with the mostly deaf waiters and waitresses. With seating for groups of up to 100, tables come with sign language cheat books. O.Noir provides a “dine in the dark” experience for groups of up to 140. Not only does dining blind in pitch black stimulate the senses, but it also teaches the sighted about the sightless world experienced by the restaurant’s visually impaired wait staff.


Culinary Tours

11-img_4757Toronto Food ToursTaste your way around the city with a chef-led trek to inside-scoop foodie sights, smells and tastes. Chef Scott Savoie and restaurateur John Anderson of Toronto Food Tours coordinate terrific food outings and activities that not only showcase delicious eating, but also the city’s restaurant and market scene and culinary stories behind ingredients. Food scavenger hunts, cooking classes, exclusive restaurant crawls and wine and drink tastings are among the offers. For something a little different, take the group on one of the company’s “edible escapades” that could include canoe paddling on Lake Ontario with a lakeside cook out, a tasting tour in Prince Edward County or a woodland forage for seasonal ingredients.


Get Cooking

my-place-for-dinnerMy Place for DinnerRoll up the sleeves and tie on an apron for hands-on cooking lessons with Debbie Diament and My Place For Dinner. The cookbook author, recipe consultant and professional chef/instructor hosts classes out of three Toronto locations, including the lovely Market Kitchen at the St. Lawrence Market, or onsite at a venue of your choice. Menus are customized and stations set to maximize participation whether it’s straightforward full-course meal prep or a spirited teambuilding competition that encourages collaboration in making and presenting winning dishes. Sessions are typically three hours of cooking and food knowledge capped with the participants sitting down to enjoy the fruits of their labour.


DIY Dining

kasai-grill-houseKasai Grill HouseUsually food at a restaurant is served ready-made, but at Kasai Grill House, one of the city’s newest Korean barbeque restaurants, diners wear the chef’s hat to cook-to-taste their choice of meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit on a grill that sits in the centre of each table. Korean barbecue or gogigui, which means meat roast, is a grilling style currently trending on the culinary scene. Located in Little Italy, the eatery, which accommodates groups of up to 70, has a semi-private VIP nook seating 12. There’s an à la carte menu of sides and prepared food orders including sushi, however, the cook-your-own option is a delicious conversation starter as diners bond family-style.

Karen Orme

Editor at TSEvents

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