Blue Plate Catering’s 2017 Year in Review

Blue Plate Catering’s 2017 Year in Review

Larkin Hall Tasting Room

Photography Credit: Marcin Cymmer

What a year it’s been!

From settling into our new digs, Larkin Hall, to joining the ranks of Chicago Tribune’s Top Places to Work, to servicing clients across 3,200 events and 3,900 delivery drops, it’s been another excellent year for our company’s history. Join us in celebrating some of our many accomplishments in 2017.

First-Year Homecoming for Larkin Hall

Fruit Chiboust/Blue Plate Catering

This year marked our first full year in our new space at 1362 West Fulton. The move signaled our commitment to hospitality leadership with our expansive, state-of-the-art production kitchen and warehouse facility and a separate second-floor tasting kitchen. This building also stands as an architectural symbol as we look to the next phase of our company and anchors our presence in the fast-growing Fulton Market District. Read more about Larkin Hall’s current and future event spaces and attractions.

Leadership at Catersource 2017

Catersource, the show for catering and event professionals, celebrated its 25th anniversary in New Orleans, LA earlier this year, joining forces with the renowned culinary training program, Art of Catering Food.  Blue Plate’s Executive Chef, Paul Larson, with assistance from members of our culinary team, led the inaugural three-day immersive school that included chef demonstration and education workshops. This year, we also brought five team members who represented our cross-section of experience across culinary, sales, service and even human resources. Pastry Chef Ashley Harriger’s Fruit Salad Chiboust also received a nomination for Best Dessert (pictured). Read more in 10 Things We Learned at Catersource.


Chicago’s 2017 101 Best & Brightest Companies To Work For® and Chicago Tribune Top Places to Work

For the sixth year in a row, we received Chicago’s Best & Brightest Company to Work For® award and also joined one of 400 companies out of 2,000 nominees in winning our first national Best & Brightest award! We also received the recognition of Chicago Tribune Top Places to Work Award. (Whoo hoo!) Check out this video that looks back on 2017 and showcases our unique culture.


Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

Our corporate social responsibility program focuses on our commitment to organizations and initiatives that align with our mission and values. This year, we continued our partnership with After School Matters, once again supporting their corporate mentorship program and purchased a table for the Summer Teen Cuisine program, Lunch Buffet Series. We also hosted our first intern over the summer from First Generation Initiative, a program of St. Mary’s University, Minnesota, that provides opportunities to first-generation high school students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education. Read more on LinkedIn.

As Chicago’s first certified green caterer, we are committed to advancing environmental practices in our kitchens, warehouse and offices, and in 2017 were recognized as a Silver Partner in the We Compost recognition program, sponsored by the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition. As of December 2017, we learned that our new facility, Larkin Hall, is eligible for 3-Star Certification with the Green Restaurant Association! More to come on this important news.

SNL: The Experience at Museum of Broadcast Communications

An Evening with Jason Wu at Larkin Hall Photo Credit: Daniel Boczarski

Live from Chicago! The SNL: The Experience opened at the Museum of Broadcast Communications this past fall providing our clients with access to this exclusive and exciting experience.  Our culinary team went to work designing a themed menu around some of our favorite skits including a “Cheezburger! Cheezburger!” Slider Station from the famous “Olympia Restaurant” Skit and a “Pizza Eating Business” Station after Melissa McCarthy’s Pizza Eating Business skit. The venue is available for rentals and the exhibit runs until 2018. View more image of the opening night on Partyslate.

Jason Wu Dinner Series at Larkin Hall

In partnership with longtime client Nordstrom, we were also extremely honored to host celebrity fashion designer Jason Wu at Larkin Hall for the fifth installment of his GREY Dinner Series celebrating the fall launch of his GREY collection in Chicago. It was important to Jason that he host the event in a unique and up-and-coming space. The evening, in collaboration with Kara Gordon at Magnificent Milestones and Kehoe Designs, culminated in a stunning culinary and entertaining experience featuring a five-course interactive menu. Read more about the unique evening at: A Fashionable Evening with Jason Wu.

Chicago Architectural Foundation Open House Chicago 2017

Open House Chicago by the Chicago Architecture Foundation is one of the city’s key, free, public events, and this year we added Larkin Hall to the roster of locations in the West Loop. Guests experienced a tour of our now-available second-floor venue spaces and a mini, written tour of Fulton Market’s history. See the full PDF of the tour here.

Fun trivia: Fulton Market District was home to Chicago’s first tavern and hotels!

New Partner Venues

Theater on the Lake

In one of the industry’s most anticipated openings of the year, the renovated Theater on the Lake opened last month. We are proud to be one of two exclusive caterers on the list and can’t wait for the many events to come out of this wonderful and historic space.

Theater on the Lake Photo Credit: On the Scene Events

American Writers Museum

Nothing says foodie like an intimate dinner with literary discussions in an event space adorned with books by some of the greats. This new museum and event space was named one of the World’s 10 Best New Museum’s by Fodor and ranked as Illinois’ best attraction in USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards for 2017.


Key Events

Bank of America Chicago Marathon 40th Anniversary

Photography credit: Tristan Zeier

For more than 20 years, we’ve been the exclusive caterer for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. This year our service and culinary team pulled off another successful program for the 40th anniversary serving 4,000+ people more than 5,000 meals and diverting 500 pounds of food waste from landfills in partnership with Healthy Soil Compost. Learn more about how we pull off this large-scale event in Catering a City-Wide Event: Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

American Cancer Society 11th Annual Discovery Ball

Blue Plate was honored to be a part of one of Chicago’s premier cancer fundraising events, the 11th Annual Discovery Ball, serving over 1,100 guests at The Field Museum. The event raised over 7 million dollars in support of American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives and create a world with less cancer.

J.P Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge

The J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge is a series of running events organized to promote healthy lifestyles, collaboration and camaraderie within teams of participating businesses. In May, we executed 33 simultaneous events in Grant Park for this year’s Challenge, serving approximately 2,800 guests.

Dîner en Blanc Chicago

Last summer, more than 4,000 trendsetters, tastemakers and partygoers flocked to the lakefront in Lincoln Park near the newly opened Theater on the Lake for the 6th annual Diner en Blanc event. Blue Plate partnered with Chef Cleetus Friedman in executing a special reserve menu for this large-scale event.


And of course, the food!

Our culinary and service team exceeded all our expectations this year with their amazing creations. Take a look at some of the highlights below. We look forward to serving and collaborating with current and new clients and partners in 2018. Happy holidays, and we’ll see you in 2018!

Find more @blueplatechicago.