A starry night of French cuisine at Naples Annual Gala
At this year’s Naples Annual Gala, 250 guests gathered for an iconic night, surrounded by projections of dreamy Van Gogh imagery and serenaded by Broadway talent.
For an event like this, it was only fitting for us to play our part. Besides, this was the first Gala since the Baker museum reopened from Hurricane Irma—every detail needed to be exceptional, especially with the night’s theme being ‘iconic’.
Cocktail hour was inside the updated Norris Garden. And in usual Tastebuds fashion, it was nothing short of exceptional. Our team catered as a French Bistro experience, accomplished by our servers who wore custom uniforms.
We delighted guests with French cheese carts and curated small cheese plates. Our appetizers used fresh ingredients, and as a nice touch, we housed some of our bites under glass cheese cloches. Savory Madeline cookies were passed along in French linen-lined baskets. And our Oyster Rockefeller, prepared with a variety of French flavors such as parsley butter and Brioche crumb, became one of the night’s favorites.
The Gala took place on the stage of the Hayes Hall—likely the last to do so with the new event space slated to open later this year. On stage, the Artis’s Event Services Team caped the round tables with blue, gold, and other colorful florals. In the distance, Van Gogh’s classic painting Starry Night was projected on the upper walls amidst the theatre’s shadows.
The experience was incredibly immersive, making you feel like you were inside the painting itself. Guests were seated to a French-inspired bread service with French baguettes, chicken liver mousse, local honeycomb and salted French butter. Also awaiting them was a Parisian Salad, plated on blue floral chargers and prepared with frisée, fuji apple, chèvre, walnuts, Belgian red endive, fennel tip and caramelized shallot honey vinaigrette.
After clearing the salads and as the event was underway, our team served the main course wearing our second custom uniforms with white shirts, black ties, and a white bistro apron. In advance of the event, we gave guests three entrée options to choose from, all with a classic French influence and a Tastebuds twist:
Contemporary Beef Bourguignon
Lacquered prime short rib, confit pearl onion, tournée of carrot, baby potato, chef mushroom, lardon, burgundy wine sauce
Contemporary Coq au Vin
Herb encrusted Cornish hen, crispy pancetta, vegetable risotto, cognac mushroom sauce
Locally sourced tomato, zucchini, eggplant, golden potato, red pepper, onion, fennel, thyme, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, prepared individually
As guests finished their entrée, the auction began. and raised over $20,000. We participated by donating a cocktail party in the new terrace space opening later this year, which raised over $20,000.
Soon after, guests were invited into the Daniels Pavilion for dessert and the after-party—complete with a Moulin Rouge look and live music.
Dessert ranged from the classics, from French Macarons and Tarte Tartin to our Live l’art du dessert—a painted dessert tablescape. As guests entered, our chefs painted the table with our dessert options:
Almond sponge cake, chocolate ganache, vanilla bean buttercream, espresso meringue
Profiterole, pastry cream, strawberry coulis, spun sugar, craquelin crumb
The Naples Annual Gala ended on a magnificent note, and we’re proud to be the caterer of choice for such a memorable affair. We received high praise from the organization, guests and the Gala event chairs for what was indeed a starry night to remember—from iconic backdrops and custom outfits to French-inspired dishes and flawless service.