What do attendees remember after an event, conference or meeting? What do you remember as your favorite memories from childhood? Food is so intertwined in our daily lives sometimes we forget that those moments are grounded in the food we ate and shared with others. There is no better way to build community, share ideas or talk over a meal. Stepping away from bland chicken and processed potatoes for fresh and local is somewhat recent in the hotel industry. Savvy planners are well-traveled and looking at the top trends in food; we are listening. Chefs have the power to produce edible art and make a conscious impact by using sustainable, local scratch-based cooking techniques that guests will not only love, but they will remember.
Discussing food with a chef is like asking a kid about their trip to Disneyland. I had the same experience talking to our Executive Chef, John Geschrei at Belterra Casino Resort. I learned quite a bit about the trends and what it means to eat local. He didn’t mean just downtown Cincinnati or Louisville; he meant his kitchen, backyard garden and sourced from places that locally grow or raise ingredients to create dishes like our Maple Leaf Farms Seared Duck Breast with local grown Indiana corn, fresh berry compote, and Kentucky micro greens.
Our Culinary Team has initiated a series of compelling food preparation initiatives including cold smoking, butchery and meat fabrication, cheese making, and artisan bread production. All products used in our extensive culinary offerings, including our extensive Buffet, award-winning 19 Steak and Seafood and Banquets, are locally sourced whenever possible or grown in our backyard urban garden.
At Belterra Casino Resort, one of our goals in the culinary department is to stay ahead of the curve, take trends and make them a mainstay for culinary excellence. We participate in the farm to table and hand-crafted food movement and give our guests unprocessed farm fresh food products including “never ever” meat products, artisanal meat curing and sausage making, organic fresh produce (some grown on property), and freshly baked breads using natural starters in our own bake shop developed by our Pastry Chef, Luiz Mendez.
We are actively producing artisanal sausages in house including saucisson sec, Tuscan salami, dry cured ham, lonzino and capicola, just to name a few. We have customized some of the equipment in our kitchens where we are fermenting and then carefully dry curing, many of these products, some, taking months to complete. Furthermore, we have, for several years now, tended our numerous raised garden beds here on Belterra property throughout our regional growing season
We have and will continue to, purchase whole pigs from Hoods Heritage Pork located in Lancaster, KY. This particular farm breeds and raises heritage pigs originally from Spain (Iberico), that are known for their tremendous flavor and abundant fat content required for a delicious and tender finished product. We also feature “Linz Heritage” Black Angus Prime Grade 45 Day Dry Aged Beef. Located in Crown Point, Indiana, their breeding farm raises only 100% certified black angus cattle which is only 5% of the black angus market, some of the best beef available in the country!
Most of this product is utilized in our 19 Steak & Seafood Restaurant Farm to Table menu, Buffet and some Banquet events when requested.
Knowing where our food comes from and how we can cater to your guests is what we do, daily. Food is the mainstay of our business and the ultimate gift to our guests. Going beyond their expectations and creating memorable moments is what we do best. So next time you are planning an event look for some options that will get people talking and going back for more. If you need suggestions call us and we will be there for you; if we are not in the kitchen.
Author: Anna Kitaevich, Business Development Manager, Belterra Casino Resort
Co-Author and Culinary Master: Chef John Geschrei, Executive Chef Belterra Casino Resort