You can read more about this event in Vogue magazine online
With just two weeks to go before the launch of a the most important event of their careers, the team behind 'Room 8' realised they had a problem.
A joint venture between GQ, Vogue and Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group, 'Room 8' was to be a showcase of innovation, great hospitality and the Ritz-Carlton ethos of 'going the extra mile'.
The guests were to be immersed in a series of Ritz-Carlton experiences being played out in front of them through animations, original music and live actors. They were also to experience amazing food, that matched the themes of the various scenes: forest, wedding, nightclub, seaside.
But at the tasting that day, two weeks before opening night, they were met with luke warm risotto, and bowls of Thai green curry. The sort of food that forms the backbone of the low-end of the catering industry, and certainly doesn't scream innovation or 'going the extra mile'.
The team had no option to change caterer, that was designated by the venue.
The creative director of the project called me and asked if I could meet him. With his team of creatives we worked out a menu the same day and I returned two days later to carry out a tasting in the Conde Nast offices in Mayfair.
At the tasting, the seabass with seaweed and bonito powder was deemed too subtle, too 'restauranty', we were really looking for food that stopped you in your tracks. So we swapped it out for a crab bisque, with fresh crab meat, aleppo pepper and samphire. This screamed 'seaside' and was eaten to the sound of waves lapping against the shore.
The rest of the dishes were all enthusiastically approved and it was on to the next challenge: working with the existing caterers to make this all a reality, in the week we had left before the event went live.
Other dishes included this mushroom tortellini topped with mushroom 'soil' and cress to evoke the forest floor.
No company - and certainly no head chef - wants an outsider coming in, to show them how it's done. So I worked very hard to ensure that this was not their perception. I arranged to meet independently with the head chef and his number 2, to discuss how we would prepare the menu, what resources they would provide and what they felt they'd need from me.
We worked hard together to deliver truly outstanding food to a truly outstanding event.
Some of the biggest names of the media and hospitality industry attended over the 5 nights of the event. They were blown away by the soundscape and graphics, the dancers who delivered the food, and - of course - by the food itself.