October 4, 2016 (ATLANTA) — In the tradition of today’s cooking shows such as Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen, on August 29, chefs from four major hotel chains — Wyndham, Starwood, Hilton and Marriott — were pitted against each other in the inaugural Kellen Culinary Challenge, the brain child of Kellen, a leading association management and communications firm. On top of all this, the first-time event was held at a fifth hotel of another global hotel brand, Hyatt. What happens when you get all these competitors in the same room? “A lot of energy, some really good food, and a delicious environment for networking!” said Phelps R. Hope, CMP, Senior VP Meetings at Kellen. Ultimately, Wyndham took home the award.
Wyndham Atlanta Galleria Executive Director of Operations Scott Hauswirth delivered a twist on the southern classic with a waffle crusted Springer Mountain Farms Chicken. Sheraton Atlanta’s Executive Chef Melvin M. Marcano prepared Sea Scallops with Beluga Len tils. Combining pork tenderloin, bacon and barley & pork fritter, Hilton Chef Olivier De Busschere of Hilton Atlanta Towers Downtown served the Three Little Pigs. Bringing a new take on an old tradition, Marriott Marquis Atlanta’s Senior Banquet Chef Daniel Alvarez concocted a Sofrito Braised Ox Tail Arepa. While not part of the four-way competition, the Hyatt Regency chefs prepared a delectable pasta entree.
The hotels’ participation put their global brands front and center, providing an opportunity to show off its skills and excellent taste in front of association event planners responsible for managing more than 300 meetings a year, all through an upgraded culinary banquet experience, with the chefs in the centerpiece, along with trade show booth exposure and one-on-one appointments with planners. “Today’s conferences and trade show organizers are reaching for a higher standard, with attendee expectations demanding a 5-star experience,” said Hope. “The hotel brands were very keen to participate as they are looking for every opportunity to demonstrate their culinary skills to their client audience”.
Kellen plans to implement this format among some of the trade associations and professional societies it manages, where member companies (no matter the industry) can sponsor culinary teams from local area hotels in future host cities.
Kellen is a global management and communications company serving more than 100 trade associations, professional societies and charitable organizations representing over 10,000 companies and 100,000 professionals worldwide. We specialize in management, communications, digital strategy, regulatory affairs, meetings and events, and consulting across a diverse range of industries. Founded in 1964 and charter-accredited through the AMC Institute, Kellen has offices in Atlanta, Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, New York City and Washington, D.C.