When it comes to cuisine and an abundance of locally sourced staple items, New Orleans chefs don’t always fall in line with national trends – because they are setting their own trends! Gabby Schick, Regional Sales Manager, will be the first to tell you that her clients don’t want what’s trendy in other areas of the country. They want authentic New Orleans food when planning dining experiences. After all, New Orleans is a city filled with world-renowned chefs, many of which are James Beard award winners.
Not only did Gabby grow up in New Orleans, but her family extension includes one of the top off-site catering chefs in the area. Gabby’s great uncle, Chef Oliver Patton, and his wife Shirley began a small catering business in the backyard of their grocery store more than a half a century ago, and today their family recipes and legacy live on through their children and are enjoyed at many of their family gatherings and holiday celebrations. Food experiences are part of Gabby’s DNA. Even before Gabby was old enough to legally work, she was bussing tables at Patton’s events which gave her a taste of the event world. Food is part of the DNA of most New Orleanians, and if you peruse some of our neighborhoods and stop in for a meal on your own, don’t be surprised if you find Gabby enjoying the Fettucine Nero at Meril’s in the Warehouse District, the Daily Fish Crudo and Pan Seared Snapper at Paladar 511 in the Bywater, or the Stuffed Artichoke and Half Pan Roasted Chicken at Thalia’s in the Garden District.
New Orleans is renowned for our legendary cuisine and sheer number of amazing restaurants. So how to select the right fit for your group? Let Gabby get to know your group, its tastes and its history, and she will give you ideal options, all of them having been vetted and tested (repeatedly and with great joy!) by the PRA team. “First, I will want to know as much about the guests and what their experience with food is like. Are they adventurous? Traditional? Formal or loose? Then I show some options that are best fit and help our client visualize what the food and the experience will be. Often at this stage the client trusts me and wants to know what I think is the best option, and off we go,” says Gabby. There are a number of our larger restaurants that have plentiful private dining spaces, and smaller ones that can be used with a reasonable buy out. “Since New Orleans is such a walkable city, it is often easy to provide options within a short stroll of the hotel. Or my favorite way to get them to dinner – a lively marching Mardi Gras parade!” says Gabby.
Often times the client’s want to know “where the locals go.” In this case Gabby recommends trying the Gulf Fish Almandine in Mid City at Mandina’s or Smoked Soft Shell Crab Almandine at Clancy’s in Uptown. PRA can arrange private buyouts of these and many other “locals only” restaurants, providing your guests with an “only in New Orleans” dining experience.
For more information on how to create a memorable New Orleans dining experience, connect with Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org . Maybe she will take you out to one of her favorite restaurants next time you are in town!