Passionately Perfecting Life’s Celebrations is more than just our tagline- it’s our way of life. So when a Chicago based Destination Management Company, On The Scene, contacted us we were thrilled to lend our creative hands in producing an evening to remember! This wasn’t just any celebration, this was the 10th anniversary celebration for a high-profile corporate client.
This special event was held at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, which was the perfect space for the unique, custom design elements that were needed to host such a magnificent event. With airplanes at the entrance and inside the venue, bone-chilling lighting, elegant table settings, lively entertainment, and creative cuisine the scene was set for a one-of-a-kind event that attendees would rave on and on about!
In reminiscing with the sweet photos from John Unrue Photography, you can tell it was a spectacular affair. However, one of the things you may not be able to see is the logistics, energy, and attention-to-detail that went into serving extravagantly plated dishes for 600 people within 15 minutes. One of the things that sets us apart from others is our team. We have an incredibly talented team of professionals who are up for any challenge; and rest assured that when we accept a challenge, we do it- and we do it very well. So take a peak below at the stunning images & video and then scroll some more to see the tantalizing menu:
Butler Passed Hors d’Oeuvres
Bacon Wrapped Potato Tot with sour cream and a chive
Braised Short Rib on Corn Cakes with fried shallots, chives and sour cream
Ahi Tuna with mango salsa, pomegranate seed and served on a lotus root chip
Mini Stilton Cheesecakes savory Stilton blue cheesecake with butternut squash purée
Plated First Course
Freshly Baked Artisan Breads with whipped butter, e.v.o.o., aged balsamic & finishing salt
Fresh Maine Lobster and Seared Scallop on Corn Relish fresh corn, diced jalapeno, tomato, avocado, lime juice, radish sticks with a jalapeno chip and cilantro oil with baby greens
Cucumber Ring Salad filled with mesclun greens, pickled beets, red onion, shaved Parmesan, Asiago chips & champagne vinaigrette
Plated Second Course
Hot off the Grill Center Cut Filet Mignon with maitre d’hotel citrus butter
Crab Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with lemon cream sauce on a bed of baby spinach
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes seasoned with sea salt and fresh herbs
Baby Carrots with tops in thyme butter
Savory Mushroom Polenta Cake served over baby greens with balsamic dressing
Cake Makers Mark chocolate walnut brown sugar crust, bourbon soaked genoise cake and Kentucky bourbon caramel sauce with a decorative company logo on top
Butler Passed Desserts Snacks
Mini Beef Burgers with caramelized onions and brie cheese served with French fries
Dessert Cigars crêpes decorated to look like smoldering cigars filled with assorted mousses and dipped in chocolate
Dessert Action Station
Blazing Donuts glazed donuts sautéed in butter and flambéed with brandy and rum served warm and topped with coffee ice cream
Gourmet Coffee and Tea Stations Columbian regular & decaf coffee, traditional and herbal teas, cream and assorted sweeteners plus additional toppings with tastes and accents of rock candy, biscotti, cinnamon whipped cream, flavored syrups and chocolate curls
Venue: Fantasy of Flight
Catering: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
Photographer: John Unrue Photography
Event Planner/DMC: On The Scene
Entertainment: Magnificent Events Chicago
Lighting: Frost Lighting
Real Events | Food Network Competion | Top Chef in the Puff ‘n Stuff Kitchen
Florida Meeting Services contacted Puff ‘n Stuff Catering with a client who was looking for something unique and memorable for their guests who were coming from all over the world. With over 30 years of experience Passionately Perfecting Life’s Celebration’s we accepted the challenge and created a Top Chef Competition in our very own kitchen.
To create a truly one-of-a-kind event, we contacted Top Chef and arranged to have finalist Chef Casey Thompson compete along side the Puff team to create a remarkable culinary show. The client set the rules for the competition, each course would have one common ingredient and it was up to each chef and his/her team to make the best use of that ingredient!
Executive Chef Paul Lorrain led Team Puff along with Sous Chef Zack Zietlow, Barry Levine, Elroy Francis, and Rosa Aguilar in friendly competition with Team Casey who was teamed with our Sous Chef Greg Smitka, Conception Rivera, Bricelyn Saffron, Melle Benosme, and Suely Rogers.
President and Owner, Warren Dietal kicked off the event and welcomed each guest. The teams were set, the finest ingredients from the East Coast were ordered, wines were paired for each course, the ingredients announced, and the competition began! Warren interviewed the Chefs as they were preparing their culinary creations, and the guests were invited to come to the food prep areas to watch and ask the chefs questions.
The guests loved the competition and took their scoring very seriously. One guest said he was “a huge fan of the Top Chef Competition TV shows and to be a part of an event like this was a dream come true.” After all score cards had been collected and tallied both team Puff and team Casey performed well and were favored highly by guests. However, when guests were asked to select the meal they would most like to enjoy again, team Puff was the Winner! After the exciting competition guests enjoyed the opportunity to take pictures with and get autographs from the culinary stars of the night. For the Puff ‘n Stuff Catering kitchen, Chefs, and guests this was certainly a night to go down in history!
The First Move- The Flavors of Florida Citrus
Paired with Laetitia Chardonnay
Blue Crab Stuffed Squash Blossom with warm asparagus & bruleed Sabayon
Szechuan Pepper-Crusted Shrimp with orange rice noodles
The Surprising and Delicious Tactics of Heirloom Tomatoes
Paired with Silver Beach Sauvignon Blanc
Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata
Heirloom Tomato Panzella
Ras El Hanout the Decisive Engagement- A Duck Duo vs. Poached Loin of Veal
Paired with Laetitia Pinot Noir
Poached Loin of Veal with the Chef’s own ras el hanout
Duck Squared dueling entree of duck breast & duck confit hash prepared with the Chef’s own ras el hanout
Bataille Des Chocolats
Paired with Mollydooker Two Left Feet Shiraz Blend
Pots du Chocolat & Doughnuts
Balloon au Chocolat white chocolate dome over elegant chocolate sponge cake with citrus & chocolate ganache revealed by melting the dome with warm orange & rose syrup
Photography: Chris Gillyard Photography
Venue: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering Commissary
Catering: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, Special Event Planner Paula Sautter
Destination Management Company: Florida Meeting Services
Real Events | TSE Gala | Restaurant 20.12
Today we are featuring an event so big, it took over part of Downtown Tampa! The Special Event Gala Awards have been held every year since 1986 to honor the biggest stars in the special events industry. This year, a team led by Mark Wells of Hello Florida took The Special Event to the next level with “Restaurant 20.12.” The event team, including Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, worked together to concept and design an evening centered around unique and fresh cuisine served in a fully-functioning “pop-up” restaurant. Preparation for the event included setting up development plans with the City of Tampa, and working with some great vendors to construct Restaurant 20.12 in Cotanchobee Fort Brook Park adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center. This completely unique and temporary venue was a two-story enclosed tent that housed two kitchens, a stage for the band, as well as accommodations for 580 guests. The interior of Restaurant 20.12 showcased chic decor, beautiful floral arrangements, cool lighting, very modern tables and chairs, and amazing talents that entertained the guests from the center stage.
Catering to the special events industry is no small order, and Puff ‘n Stuff Catering provided five courses with multiple table-side selections for guests to indulge in! Superb plates on the restaurant menu included Classic Cioppino Fresh Seafood Stew, Sweet Pumpkin Ravioli, and Wild Mushroom Rissotto with a Roasted Marrow Bone, just to name a few. After the entrees, upscale cheese plates were served to tables followed by a delicious Maker’s Mark cake for dessert!
The Special Event Gala Awards was an exciting and successful event, and it took seven full days to build the restaurant and bring everything together! Throughout the night, guests were treated to live music performances, exotic dancing, and some truly uncommon spectacles…this night would have made the Rat Pack glad to attend! Scroll below to see some pictures from the night, the full menu, and an exciting video chronicling the steps that made Restaurant 20.12 come to life!
Mediterranean Sampler Hummus, Cucumber Raita and Greek olives, with crisp pita chips and flat bread crackers
Savory Marcona Almonds
Course I: Butler Passed Hors D’oevres
Cognac and Brown Butter Seared Foie Gras Served atop a Foccacia Crsip, Brandied Apricot butter, and a candied nut garnish
Pepper Berry Crusted Baby Lamb Chops with crimson reduction and seasonal micro greens
Leek Cheesecake on a Cracker Spoon Savory Leek Cheesecake with arugula pesto, carmelized onions, sweet grape tomato and served on a pesto cracker spoon
Seared Ahi on green papaya salad
Course II: Small Plates
A Study in Heirlooms Chef’s garden wedge heirloom tomato, sun gold, snow white and sugar snack baby heirlooms, Australian Murray River flake salt, micro basil, Piccardo & Savore unfiltered EVOO and B. R. Cohn 12 year white balsamic with basil foam.
Seafood Marriage a scallop and salmon stack, eloquently combined and served with a white balsamic glaze, epic mache greens salad, and citrus supremes
Noodle Bowl Miso sarachi broth, Thai Chicken, bean thread noodles, snow peas, scallions, enoki, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, napa, bok choy and bean sprouts
Wild Mushroom Rissotto with a roasted marrow bone
Course III: Entree
Lamb Three Ways – Osso bucco with fried arugula; ragu over polenta; seared loin with cherry demi and mustard greens
Sweet Pumpkin Ravioli in sage brown butter with candied brussel sprouts, oyster mushrooms, and crushed candied nuts
Classic Cioppino Fresh Seafood Stew with Scallop, Clams, Mussels, and white fish in a saffron seafood brodo with herbed orzo served with a grilled crostini
Coffee and Chili Rubbed Sliced Black Angus Cowboy Steak served with shallot butter and accompanied by creamed spinach and Yukon gold smashed potatoes
Cheese Presentation France: Billat Savarin & Morbier, Italy: Telaggio accompanied by
wild strawberry and balsamic jam, green tomato relish, natural honeycomb, fresh mission figs, medjool dates, cheese sticks, crackers and flat breads
The Cake Makers Mark Chocolate, walnut, and brown sugar crust topped with bourbon soaked genoise cake and Kentucky bourbon caramel sauce
Caterer: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
Types of Cuisine Offered
At Puff ‘n Stuff, we specialize in a different variety of cuisines. We don’t try to pigeon-hole ourselves into just one, we try to make sure there is something there for just about everyone. We work with a lot of family recipes. We have customers that come to us from time to time and have an “Aunt Erma’s Special Cookie” that they’ve done. We have a lot of ethnic dishes that people come to us for and we certainly take a lot of time to work through those things and put a special twist or special twist for them and of course we give them an opportunity to taste it in advance. [The cuisine choices] are extremely diverse; we really try to do just about everything. We have traditional American Cuisine as well as a wide variety of different ethnic cultures. We are now getting into the Kosher side of the world as well, working within Kosher cuisine as well as our Indian Brides as well. We are beginning to see a pretty big influx of indian business and we are working with that community to try and develop some great things.
What Size Weddings Do You Cater?
We cater weddings of all sizes. A lot of the venues that we work with lend themselves to great, small intimate affairs, and others for large gala functions. We really pride ourselves in working with all gambits, we really don’t have a restriction or minimum guest count. A lot of the times, the smaller the group, the more important the group. WE try to look at each thing individually. Sometimes, during the year, it is not really conducive to bring very small groups in because it is exceptionally busy. But for the most part we will cater weddings of all different sizes, of all different magnitudes, of all different ethnicities, in all different reasons. We cater primarily in Orlando, Tampa, but obviously everything in between. We are going into the East Coast a tremendous amount–working into Jacksonville, FL, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, and Ormond Beach.
Best Caterer Orlando | WOW Awards | Event Solutions Caterer of The Year | Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
Why Is Puff ‘n Stuff Catering Different from other Florida Caterers?
“The thing that makes Puff ‘n Stuff unique from the other caterers, even though it sounds kind of cliche, really is our people. I know a lot of folks say that, but I truly believe in that here, within our culture. The Puff ‘n Stuff culture supports our team and it supports them in a way that it gives them the ability to excel at what they are doing. We have a unique process here that allows us to execute with precision and consistency even with the large variety and quantity of event we may do.”
Puff 'n Stuff Wins Catering Professional of the Year & Best Off-Premise Catered Event | 2010 WOW Awards | Central Florida
This year’s Florida WOW Awards were nothing short of spectacular. The nominees were seasoned professionals exhibiting the best of show and design that amazed their clients and fellow business owners all year long.
The WOW awards themselves have won “Best Team Effort” by the ISES in their Esprit Award Show. Originally conceptualized in 2003, the WOW awards brings Florida’s planning organizations (ABC, HSMAI, ISES, MPI &NACE) together in a collaborative effort to show support and recognize the best in the business.
This year, Puff ‘n Stuff and Warren Dietel took home the awards for:
- Catering Professional of the Year
- Best Off-Premise Catered Event
We would like to give special appreciation to Christie’s Photographic for capturing this amazing night and preserving these great memories. Photographs and current news of their events can be found on their blog.
March of Dimes Burgers, Dogs & Dunking Fundraiser
Thank you so much to everyone who came out today for our Burgers, Dogs and Dunking fundraiser for the March of Dimes. The event was an even bigger success than we hoped. Your generous contributions helped our team raise over $1000 for the March of Dimes March for Babies!
Warren Dietel and Kevin Kulikowski were both great sports – even after getting dunked for the 13th, 14th and 15th time! I’m sure they’ll be staying dry for a while after this.
If you were unable to come out and would like to join our team or make a donation, please visit our March of Dimes team page.
A huge “Thank You” to our vendor partners:
Fun Planners for bringing the dunk tank.
Casino Parties Orlando for entertaining our guests with shuffle golf.
Old Fashioned Homemade Ice Cream for some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
John Unrue for the spectacular event photos.
Puff 'n Stuff Catering at Catersource Conference
As I write, four of our team members are attending the annual Catersource Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas! The best and the brightest of the industry come together each year to collaborate and learn from each other so that we can continually perfect our business for you, our clients!
Puff ‘n Stuff Catering owner, Warren Dietel, is sharing his knowledge with 3 different presentations this year!
- Incentive Programs that Drive Accountability
- The Operations Toolbox (presented with Kevin Kulikowski, Director of Business Operations)
- Creating a Loyalty Program for Your Business
Every year, our team comes back inspired with a wealth of new and innovative ideas. So stay tuned – there will be many new things to come! We can’t wait to see what they come back with.
Celebrating 30 Years Serving Central Florida!
This year will mark the Puff ‘n Stuff Catering 30-year Anniversary. Since 1980, we have been Orlando’s premier catering and full-service event planning company and are now the largest of our kind in Florida. We’ve achieved this status largely in part to one word: Innovation. It’s what drives our business and our team members—evidenced in everything from our Special Event Planners and expert Chefs to our state-of-the-art facility.
But if you’ve ever wondered where it all began, and a more commonly asked question–how we got our name, here’s a short history:
In 1971, Puff ‘N’ Stuff (sans Catering) opened as a puff pastry shop in San Fernando, Trinidad, owned by three friends who thought they’d put their baking skills to good use: Yuklan Laing, Gwyneth Pogson, and Susie Dietel. Because they specialized in puff pastries, and created some other “stuff” too (cakes & breads), the name Puff ‘N’ Stuff was a natural fit.
When Susie and her husband, Glenn, moved to Florida in 1978, they wanted to bring a piece of home with them. So in 1980, they opened Puff ‘N’ Stuff here in Orlando, Florida. The pastry shop quickly grew into something more, and they were cooking up full meals and providing catering services in no time.
In 2003, their son, Warren Dietel, had a vision for the company, so he purchased the company from his parents and immediately set out to grow Central Florida’s premier catering operation into a full-service event planning company. He updated the brand, added “Catering” to the company name, and grew the business over 250% in 3 years. Puff ‘n Stuff Catering is now recognized as a national leader in our industry.
So for you, “Puff ‘n Stuff” may invoke thoughts of a TV show or a head shop. But for us, it is a legacy, an evolution, and an inspiration.
Passionately Perfecting Life’s Celebrations for 30 years!
Retaining Your Talent in Economic Hardships
Many believe people are a company’s greatest asset, but I believe the culture created by the people working for you is your greatest asset. Culture defines who you are and aids in making hiring decisions. With the right culture, you can cultivate skills and encourage employee loyalty, and in the end, your business will come through stronger and much more efficient than before.
Though it is impossible to guarantee that your great employees will stay through the hardships, there are some measures you can take the greatly increase your chances.
Clearly define your Mission, Vision, and Values. Make sure you have developed a picture of today, tomorrow and what governs your decisions. An employee that understands where you are, where you’re going, and why, feels much more secure in their future.
Develop an Ownership Mentality. Empower your staff to give suggestions and ideas – from part time server to the Director of Sales. When your staff walks through your building or an event, you want them to think “How can I make this better? Can we do this more efficiently?” And reward these ideas. With a little encouragement, you’d be amazed at some of the things your employees at all levels think of.
Encourage Team Building & Communication. Send out a monthly newsletter. Announce birthdays, positive client feedback and new employees. As an off-premise caterer, many of our employees rarely step foot into the building, but they are valued too. Have your staff vote for an employee of the month, and reward that employee, even if it’s just a designated parking spot or a $20 gift card to Starbucks.
When your employees feel valued, when they feel like it’s their company too, they’ll work with you to create solutions and will understand that though things may be hard right now, they will get better.
As my good friend Simon T. Bailey says, “Losers look at what they are going through. Champions look at what we are going to do.” And it is your responsibility to create a culture of Champions.
Warren Dietel, Owner/President
Puff 'n Stuff Catering Blog Launch
Welcome to the Puff ‘n Stuff Catering blog! We’re thrilled you’re here and look forward to sharing our expertise and ideas with you. We’re crafting new and exciting menus and event ideas to meet every budget. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just give us a call and our expert team of Planners & Chefs will custom create the perfect blend for you. This business has been my family’s for over 30 years so rest assured we are passionate about perfecting life’s celebrations!