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April 26, 2024

Best Catered Event of the Year!

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Big news! The International Caterers Association has awarded Culinary Crafts the Catie prize for Best Catered Event of the Year.

In the catering and hospitality world, that’s like winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

To learn more about this event, read on.

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The Best Catered Event of 2023

This event was an outdoor adventure full of food, fishing, and fun.

In planning this event, we were inspired by Henry David Thoreau who “went to the woods” not to escape life but to live life more deeply.

In the rush of everyday life, it’s easy to become numb and to do things out of routine habit. Even the way we eat becomes thoughtless and automatic. We tend to consume our food as mere fuel, grabbing it on the go and racing on to something else. Our goal for this event was to help our guests slow down, attune to their beautiful surroundings, and truly savor the experience.

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The Venue

The perfect place to stage this event was the 4U Ranch in Peoa, Utah.

The 4U ranch is an enchanting, rustic venue on the banks of the Weber River. Towering groves of shade trees. Manicured lawns. Open horse pastures. A state-of-the-art timber-frame barn. A majestic rock cliff that towers over it all. It is truly breathtaking.

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Plus, the owners of 4U, Donna and Gary, are two of the most delightful and helpful professionals we’ve ever known. They generously shared their gorgeous venue and their expertise to help make the event happen.

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THE MENU

To help our guests be immersed in nature, we designed the menu to be primal and natural. No fussy foods. Just fresh, locally-sourced ingredients prepared onsite.

The menu read like an itinerary, presenting guests with opportunities to savor and reflect as they moved through the various activities and gorgeous venue spaces.

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This Epic-urean Immersion began in the barn where they were greeted with sparkling alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine. As they received an orientation and description of the upcoming experiences, they enjoyed truffle deviled eggs and trout caviar smoked in a cloche and then served on unsalted kettle chips with crème fraiche and chives.

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Tying Flies

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The first activity of the evening involved guests learning to tie their own trout flies under expert instruction.

Charcuterie Station

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During the fly-tying instruction, guests helped themselves to the full charcuterie spread featuring local Utah Beehive cheeses, fruits, berries, and honeycomb from Utah’s Slide Ridge.

Utah Craft Gin Bar

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A fully staffed bar kept guests refreshed with custom cocktails featuring local Utah products such as a barrel-aged gimlet made with Beehive Barrel Reserve gin, a Japanese slow-drip aviation with Madame Pattirini gin from Ogden’s Own, and a charred strawberry gin featuring Alpine Elevated.

Casting Lessons

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The party then moved outside where local fishing guides taught the guests how to cast with a fly rod.

Horses, Horses, Horses!

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A surprise visit from Summit Wagon and Sleigh gave guests a chance to get up close and personal with a pair of magnificent Percheron draft horses.

Into the River

Then it was time for guests to put their training to the test. Our river guides worked one-on-one with guests to try their hand at hooking a Weber River cutthroat trout.

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Riverside Repose

While some guests tested the waters with their newfound casting skills, others took advantage of the riverside lounge, games, and refreshments.

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A second bar, set up by the riverbank, served wine and cocktails to order.

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Meanwhile, butlers brought around pizza slices made fresh in our wood-fired ovens.

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The Main Event

At last, guests were led upstream to where their tables waited…in the river!

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What followed was a one-of-a-kind feast—exquisite food, excited chatter, and wine pairings for each of the four courses, all in the middle of a gorgeous river setting.

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We started with a roasted mushroom bisque served with fresh-baked artisan bread.

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We followed that up with tallow candles (a-MAY-zingly delicious when you melt them and then dip your bread in the tallow!), and roasted bone marrow with a High West Bourye chaser. You don’t have to pour the whiskey straight onto the bone, but it sure is fun to do it that way.

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We served the mesquite-grilled trout with peach salsa and a corn puree with blistered tomatoes, chorizo, and sage.

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For the main entrée, we served grilled Snake River Farms tomahawk ribeye with garlic herb butter and coffee flake salt, along with fried Brussel sprouts with bacon and Fresno chilis.

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As the evening waned, we treated our guests to a rainbow chard salad with melon, house-made ricotta, granola, and vanilla vinaigrette.

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Dusk comes early in the mountains, so the party moved back inside to enjoy dessert and wine.

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We’d made buttermilk vanilla panna cotta and rose gelee with fresh plums, mini macarons, candies pistachios, and rose petals, paired with 2017 Chateau Suduiratu Sauternes.

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Guests also enjoyed a tasting with samples of Utah artisan chocolates from Solstice, Amano, and Ritual. We paired these with a leather-aged chocolate negroni featuring Holystone’s Navy Bosun gin.

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Each guest found a little personalized gift to take home and commemorate the experience.

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After dessert, we lit a campfire to keep the evening chill at bay while guests enjoyed dessert, coffee, and after-dinner drinks. We were gratified to see that many guests lingered well into the night, laughing and visiting about what they had experienced.

A silver full moon put the punctuation on a beautiful event.

Best Catered Event of the Year

Earlier this year, some of our team who helped stage this extraordinary event traveled to Austin, Texas. There, they accepted the award for Best Catered Event of the Year. It was a thrill to be recognized for our work and to show the world a little of what Utah has to offer. As we’ve always believed, “this is the place” to throw a party!

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How does the saying go? “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and then treat him to an epic culinary experience in the middle of a river, and you give him memories he’ll savor for a lifetime.”

Something like that.

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27x winner Utah’s Best of State

24x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year