An Epic Epicurean Evening

After reading my first post, it’s no secret that I am a complete newbie to Wilmington. I have been trying to attend as many local events, fundraisers, and galas as possible. Wilmington has so much going on all the time, it’s hard to keep up! The month of August was no exception. However, instead of just attending all the events. I actually got to participate in one.

One afternoon, in the Sales and Catering office, I overheard our Executive Chef talking about an event over at the Convention Center. Nosey me decided to find out more information. He told me “It’s Epicurean Evening, a fundraising event. I’ve never been before but I guess we show up with food samples, stand at a booth, and people judge our stuff?” (This isn’t a direct quote, but it’s basically what he said). It sounded a lot like the job I had in Baltimore. Pairing with a chef and setting up a booth display, serving delicious samples, interacting with people, representing the company, and maybe even win something. I started brainstorming ideas for the Hilton’s booth, just trying to be helpful, and the next thing you know I’m ordering linens, a banner, picking out serving plates, and designing ice sculptures. I even volunteered to setup and man the booth during the event. We went with no idea of what to expect. Not only was it my first year participating in Epicurean Evening, but it was our Chef’s too (who let that happen?).The Hilton Wilmington Riverside has participated every year and has won many times before, so the pressure was definitely on!

Finally it was showtime! The staff at the Convention Center couldn’t have been more helpful, making sure we had everything we needed to get setup. This event was huge! It was all organized to bring awareness to and raise money for Methodist Home for Children, on organization that provides amazing support and care to children and families who need help. They see substance abuse, mental disabilities, foster children, neglect, and they do everything possible to help them stabilize and reach amazing opportunities. The entire convention space was filled with food and drink samples, auction items, beautiful table settings, and the generous people of Wilmington.

Executive Chef Eric Walker, Sous Chef Kevin Hulin, and Outlet Manger Nancy Smith, couldn’t dish out our food samples fast enough! We were getting great feedback and people kept coming back for seconds, and even thirds! After the speeches and an exhilarating live auction, it was time. Time for that moment every chef and staff had waited for all night… The AWARDS!

We were expecting to do well just based on the guest feedback but it was mine and Chef’s first time going to Epicurean Evening so we weren’t expecting a lot. My assumptions were way off! We won a Silver Medal People’s Choice Award, Best Appetizer, anddddd….

The Epicurean Evening Best in Show Copper Kettle!!!

I may or may not have screamed a little when it was announced. Our chef was just as surprised as the rest of us and this event, that was completely new to us became a huge accomplishment! We had an amazing night at (our neighbor’s house) the Convention Center. The staff over there couldn’t have been nicer and they put together a really great evening!

We cannot wait until next year!

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Banana Split Dessert Shooters (let’s get this party started!)

Seared Diver Scallops with a White Chocolate Mole (best appetizer winner)

Beef Tournedo with a Lobster Americana Sauce (beef & lobster, yep, we went there)

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My usual saying is “When in doubt, add more sparkle” but in this case… When in doubt, add an ice sculpture by Ice Sensations of Wilmington, NC. The Ice sculpture was the beautiful focal point of our booth but it also kept our dessert shooters ice cold.

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Our Executive Chef Eric Walker (wearing the medal), Our Sous Chef Kevin Hulin, Assoc. Sales Manager Melissa Fallis (in the blue dress), Catering Sales Manager Haleigh Hughes (in the teal dress), and Me, Rachel Anderson Wedding Coordinator (and now apparently Epicurean Evening booth planner)

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Special Thanks to Our Neighbors at the Convention Center! Congratulations on an amazing event!

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