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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Glitz Goes Green with GRACE

Creating a green gala requires commitment from the entire team, especially the host and event facility.  The Georgia Restaurant Association and the Loews Hotel teamed together to ensure the GRACE - Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence - November 14 Awards Gala lived up to their theme, Glitz goes Green.  As part of the planning process, the Loews Hotel contracted for organics collection and met the remaining Zero Waste Zone Phase I Criteria.

Taking green beyond recycling, Executive Chef Olivier Gaupin prepared a scrumptious meal featuring local ingredients.   To support the recovering Gulf Coast seafood industry, Apalachicola shrimp was served with the Athen's Red Mule grits (yummy!).  Pre-portioned meat was purchased to eliminate prep scraps.  Energy conservation was a focus with the food preparation and dish washing  procedures.  How inspiring to witness a chef revamp standard operating procedures to practices that minimize energy and water usage, even if it puts extra pressure on the staff with entrée plating.

What a thrill to experience a sustainable bar ~ the bartenders were excited to explain their recycling  initiatives including corks collected for ZWZ Auxiliary Program supplier Cork ReHarvest.  Most beverages offered were local and/or organic including Southern Vodka made in Albany, GA.

Check out the cool bottle bottom chandelier made from recycled plastic bottles.

ZWZ Participant Legendary Events created eco-friendly centerpieces made from wine bottles, cardboard and herbs, later replanted.  Thompson Creative, an Ei in-kind sponsor, kept the event collateral material in alignment with green glitz by contracting with an eco-friendly printer and using post consumer waste paper.  The invitation was killer with its subtle communication.

Chef Kevin Gillespie, Executive Chef and Partner at Woodfire Grill, was the keynote speaker.  Wow ~ Kevin was phenomenal!.  Without any notes, Kevin inspired the audience with his humorous, passionate talk about his roots and how sustainability is more about revisiting the past than creating the new.

With so many aspects to planning a green event, it takes a committed individual to adhere to sustainable practices when status quo is easier and at times less expensive.  Kelly Hornbuckle. GRA Marketing & Communications Director, is the driving force who made the GRACE Awards walk the talk of Glitz Goes Green.  THANK YOU KELLY!

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