by Andrea Doyle | September 19, 2017



 Chef John Karangis began his New York culinary career in the kitchen at Union Square Cafe. From there, he worked in kitchens including Gramercy Tavern and Square One in San Francisco. He then became the executive chef at Restaurant Associates, and later Goldman Sachs. With his return to Union Square Hospitality Group, Karangis brings his passion for excellence and hospitality to the Union Square Events team.

 What is the most elaborate food and beverage function you ever planned for a group?

 The Robin Hood Foundation gala, an annual fundraiser that requires a menu and a team to serve a high-end experience to 4,000 guests.

 What high-end trends are you seeing now?

 We see our guests wanting to interact with our chefs to understand more about our culinary philosophy, product-sourcing practices, and menu customization. So I'd say that our chefs have partnered more than ever with our sales team in an effort to provide a really thorough and thoughtful experience leading up to an event, as well as the event itself. It's worked out brilliantly for all involved.

 What strategies are there for groups without big budgets?

 I've seen a lot of sharing plates, large-format platters, and family-style and/or communal dining that focuses on foods that are thoughtful, delicious, and inventive, all without requiring a high budget.

What are some of the most popular ingredients right now?
 Vegetables, greens, and grains. Proteins are and always will be important, but vegetables are now more than ever appreciated and as important as anything on the plate. I'm proud of how we choose to source, cook, and serve our vegetables, which is with the same appreciation and love as we would any fancy ingredients. n Alex Palmer contributed reporting to this story.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]

 This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.