Food Trends Q+A 2011: Brett Krafft, Hilton Anatole Dallas

Prevue asked Brett Krafft, Hilton Anatole Dallas’s director of events, his thoughts on the Hilton Anatole Dallas’ food trends for 2011. 

Q: Do you offer any types of culinary-themed teambuilding programs for groups?
A: We have developed our own version of The Food Network’s very popular “Iron Chef” program. Group attendees split up into teams and are paired with our hotel chefs. They have a set time limit to create and produce a menu, which is then judged by their peers.

Q: Do you offer special group dining experiences outside your ballrooms and restaurants, or off-property?
A: One of the unique features of the Hilton Anatole is our 7-acre private sculpture park. The beautiful outdoor space provides us with the ability to produce extraordinary events for up to 5,000+ people.

Q: What is an example of an incredible themed dining experience that you can provide for groups?
A: The Hilton Anatole is home to the priceless Crow collection of Asian Art. We developed an event that capitalized on our collection and also promoted Dallas as the art centric city that it is. The theme developed was “Art of Hospitality.” All events were designed with art as the main décor, i.e. culinary arts, creative arts, performing arts and visual arts. Themed breaks included “Artrageous” and “Enlighten the Senses.”

Q: What trends are you seeing with regard to restaurant design, ambience and flow to maximize networking opportunities?
A: Group clients are looking for more than just a place to eat; they want an experience. A great example is our newest concept, Media Grill + Bar. This tech-savvy, state-of-the-art, high-energy eatery features food like freshly made flatbreads, handcrafted signature cocktails and a large selection of American craft beers.

The restaurant also offers an interactive bar, 27” HD plasma TVs including a 103” screen, and a Displax™ interactive floor system. Perfect for the DJ and dancing after dinner!

Q: What types of private dining options do you offer for VIP groups?
A: We have five private dining rooms on the 27th floor offering gorgeous, panoramic views of Dallas. The rooms are adjacent to our award-winning Nana Restaurant, under the helm of Executive Restaurant Chef Anthony C. Bombaci.

Q: What do you require most from planners when preparing a group dining event?
A: Having a clear understanding of the client’s financial parameters is always critical. Our team works diligently to maximize that budget in designing an event customized for audience. Details regarding the group profile are also important. Finally, it is most important for us to understand the goals of the client. What do they hope to accomplish during the event?