2 Majorly Delicious Events to Kick Off ILEA Live
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
On 16–18 August, hundreds of live events professionals from around the world will gather in the breathtaking mountain city of Denver. ILEA’s annual conference will be jam-packed with educational breakout sessions, keynote speakers, an awards gala and several networking events. Oh, and did we mention food? ILEA members and events industry leaders will be able to enjoy many different food options through the conference. Jump-starting ILEA Live on Thursday, 16 August, read below for a behind-the-scenes preview of what’s to come.
Chopped Kitchen Challenge Workshop: 16 August, 12:45 p.m.–3:45 p.m.
This ILEA Live workshop will let teams of attendees plan and execute a menu with the help of one Sheraton Denver professional chef and a box of mystery ingredients. Each team will create an appetizer, entrée and a signature cocktail. Real judges will preside over the competition, judging for quality, presentation, taste and creativity. Not unlike the TV show “Chopped,” there will also be an emcee monitoring and covering the competition.
What can workshop attendees look forward to at the Chopped Workshop? Denver Sheraton Executive Chef Scott Skomal says, “The camaraderie and the competition among the teams is fierce, but many enjoy trying something new and getting out of their comfort zone. We give them opportunity to be creative. Because we have culinary leadership with each team, we can give them shortcuts and hints. They’re going to have a lot of fun, but they’re going to be stretched a little bit.”
Another notable element of the competition and the Denver Sheraton culinary atmosphere is the “farm to table” experience. Skomal notes that people still want to be connected with the chefs and the food they are eating. In order to bring this to large groups, Skomal and his team have created relationships with local farmers, beekeepers and a lavender farm. Living in the Denver area, Skomal knows what Colorado foods he can bring into events so attendees can learn more. In fact, locally sourced food is becoming so popular that some Denver restaurants even have their own farms connected to them. “We don’t want people just to show up at the Sheridan and it was just like any other Sheridan; we want them to experience Denver,” Skomal says.
Just because Skomal prefers to work with local ingredients doesn’t mean he won’t employ popular trends like street food. “We do tacos, we do ramen, we do poke, we do Brazilian carvery … Guests really like it because it’s trendy and the food is great,” he says.
Opening Event: 16 August, 7:00 p.m.–10:00p.m.
After you’ve tried your luck at being a champion chef, attend “Celebrate Cosmopolitan Colorado,” the ILEA Live Opening Event, at an award-winning tourist destination and hub for learning and entertainment — the History Colorado Center. Opened in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District in 2012, the History Colorado Center will be set up with special exhibits giving attendees the chance to explore, reconnect with friends, and enjoy dinner stations and surprise entertainment. This unique event is included in full conference registration.
The History of Colorado Center is a museum showcasing a large atrium, four-story high ceilings and a giant topographical map of Colorado. Food and drink stations will follow themes of different Denver neighborhoods. Some sneak previews for guests to enjoy include:
- Rocky Mountains: Of course we cannot ignore Denver purple mountain majesties. There will have ski chairs, a ski lift chair and a chalet style house to create the mountain resort feel.
- Red Rocks: An homage to the infamous amphitheater with natural acoustics, the Red Rocks exhibit will be sure to give guests an inside look at what it’s like to attend one of those rockin’ concerts.
- LoDo District: Street food and craft beer will dominate this space to match the hipster neighborhood feel.
This event will be staged after 5 p.m. when the museum closes to the public, says Natalie Schwab, director of catering and event sales at the center. The event itself begins at 7 p.m., which means the team will have to turn around the space quickly.
For evening events, guests can explore the museum exhibits (other than traveling ones). They can wander through three floors, and there is even an interactive ski jump guests can test out.
Other exhibits attendees may want to check out? Schwab shares a number in interesting displays, including:
- A mining exhibit featuring the life of a miner and a model of mining shafts
- A showcase on water conservation in Colorado, explaining the process of resort to water runoff from the mountains
- An exhibit on Keota, a Colorado ghost town that was once bustling when settlers were moving West
- A ride in the Model T
For all of this and more, be sure to check out the ILEA Live schedule and register today!