NACE Comes (Back) to Los Angeles with Style

The National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) has been going strong for more than 50 years among its many chapters. However, Los Angeles was notably missing for a few of those years. This year it's back thanks to Jose Ramirez, Marketing Director at AFR Furniture Rentals, who has spearheaded its return and is serving as President.

The new board was introduced at a beautiful event at a new venue called At the P. Owner Lisa Pietruszka Polak was on hand to welcome guests on a recent beautiful Los Angeles evening. 

Guests were also greeted with a “Burning Mandarin” cocktail – a heady concoction by Good Gracious! Events of citrus juices, mandarin vodka topped with a slice of serrano chili. That, and other passed hors d'oeuvres served in the outdoor space outside the front door got things off to a hot start! 

The evening's cartoon artist has SIra Butler laughing at herself, or at least at his likeness of her! 

Mac and Cheese cupcakes by Good Gracious! Events

A loft like look was created for the evening

This was one of the very first evens held At the P, which will officially open in October 2016 with indoor, outdoor and rooftop spaces. The indoor space was furnished for the NACE event by 204 Events with a design intended to play up the 3,600-square-foot rustic space and its exposed wood ceiling, brick walls and concrete flooring.
Floral designer Doyle Borden added floral accents to the overall design as well as created several tabletop looks with 204 Events perfect for the space. DJ David Krieger added a good vibe with an eclectic playlist. Dinner was creative and delicious. Calling upon the trend toward retro elements at events -- specifically that of the 80's sushi craze -- Pauline Parry of Good Gracious! Events was inspired to offer main entrees on a high-end conveyor belt. Guests could choose from a Lamb Smoked Paprika Lentil Mash, Curried Chicken Slider, House Smoked King Salmon or Steak Tacos Chimichurri. 

Emily Yoona Cho and a Good Gracious! Event chef show off their new conveyor belt food delivery system!

As the Good Gracious waitstaff passed Tiramisu Cupcakes and Affogato, Ramirez introduced the new board (see full list at end of article) and the evening's moderator, Marcus Anthony Gray of The Little Black Book. The discussion between Gray and panelists Krystal Moreno, David Merrell, Kristin Banta and Lara Burnap was light and lively. They covered everything from trends in design and food, how to submit editorial and thoughts on dealing with difficult clients. 

Supercool Creamery  ended the evening with some dessert magic!

From the moment guests entered the space, the moment they left, the objective of NACE LA and its president, Ramirez, was clear – bring people from various disciplines together, and engage them through conversation, education and best practices. 

Throwback badge! Ron Rubin came prepared to represent, flashing his original badge Los Angeles NACE badge 

Attendees speak out about NACE
From Krystal Moreno, PWC, Director of Catering, Hotel Casa del Mar
“NACE is a tried and true organization, one that is rooted in my time planning events in San Francisco, where the Bay Area Chapter really paved the way for much event inspiration. Now in Los Angeles, if affords the opportunity to be with likeminded individuals who are all working towards the same goal – to inspire, to create and grow the industry of catering and events. This is an organization that really keeps with what is relevant in our industry among the appropriate peers. You walk away from NACE learning something new, being inspired but most importantly benefitting professionally by having real conversations with the people who really understand you and your business.”
From Dave Merrell, owner of AOO Events
“It's exciting to see the interest spark back up over the NACE LA chapter.  More often than not, we forgot the importance of being connected to associations that promote the professionalism of our industry.  NACE is a great way to stay connected to our industry roots and to the community that surrounds it.”
From Lisa Hurley, Editor, Special Events magazine
“I welcome the chance to get to know more of the top caterers in this great food town—this opportunity will make me more effective in my own job. And I have to think that the caterers will help one another, sharing both creative inspiration and practical business strategies.”
From Lisa Pietruszka Polak, owner of At the P
“The renewed NACE Los Angeles chapter means a revitalization of events in the Los Angeles area.  It reflects a growing market and fosters relationships among the top industry people.”
From Kirstin Banta, owner of Kristin Banta Events:
"I'm truly excited about the new NACE chapter reopening in Los Angeles. It's an incredible forum to support a collaborative spirit as well as a platform for sharing new ideas and education, allowing the Los Angeles market to retain our role as industry leaders and innovators."
Los Angeles NACE Launch Event.
Thank you Kevin Robledo of Expressionary Films for the amazing video and your support!
PRESIDENT: Jose D Ramirez | AFR Furniture Rental
VICE PRESIDENT: Melody Corvalan | The Westin Long Beach
SECRETARY: Kate Bartlett | AFR Furniture Rental
PROGRAMS CHAIR: Jenny Rasmussen | Rock Bottom - Long Beach
MEMBERSHIP CHAIR: Mark Verabian | Mark and the Martinis
COMMUNITY SERVICE CHAIR: Marcus Anthony Gray | The Little Gray Book

EVENT RENTALS: Sira Butler | 204 Events
CATERER: Pauline Parry | Good Gracious! Events
VIDEOGRAPHER: Kevin Robledo | Expressionary Films
EVENT DESIGN/FLORALS: Doyle Borden | Doyle Borden- Event Style
PHOTOGRAPHER: Joan Fuller | Joan Fuller Photography
FAVORS: Nada Adjadj SoBelle | SoBelle Chocolate Favors
MAGIC: Rmax Goodwin | Rmax Goodwin
DJ: David Krieger | Krieger
FROZEN DESSERT: Supercool Creamery
PHOTOBOOTH: Capture POD Photo Booths
Moderator: Marcus Anthony Gray, Public Relations Consultant at The Little Gray Book | Behind Party Lines
Kristin Banta, Celebrity Wedding Planner & Event Designer - Kristin Banta Events
Krystal Moreno, Catering Director for Casa Del Mar & Shutters on the Beach
David Merrell, CEO & Creative Director - AOO Events
Lara Burnap, Editor - California Wedding Day