Food & Beverage Q&A: Lisa Lynn Backus, CMP/CPCE Catering/Convention Services Manager for Caesars Entertainment

We spoke with Lisa Lynn Backus, CMP/CPCE Catering/Convention Services Manager for Caesars Entertainment to learn about fun F&B programs.

Q: What are some of the most significant trends you’re seeing in food and beverage for events? 

A: As we all become more conscious of our earth, our health, and the importance of developing a larger world-view, the outgrowth of this movement becomes reflected and interpreted in food and beverage trends in a variety of ways.

One big trend we are seeing is a strong overall movement toward healthier dining choices. In breakfast buffets, for example, we answer this call in our protein offerings with our baked egg cups, egg white vegetable frittatas and poached salmon.

We also proactively plan for the needs of vegan and vegetarian diners, provide gluten-free options, and label all buffet items that include common food allergens such as nuts and shellfish.

Q: Are you doing anything interesting to create more healthy and engaging meeting breaks? 

A: For meeting breaks, we are offering a healthy “green” alternative to bottled water, featuring a refreshing spa-like presentation of water. We provide our meeting and conference attendees with natural flavorings such as cucumber, basil, mint, lemon, lime, orange or berries, self-served from large containers.

Q: What are some ways you’re creatively enhancing buffets and banquets? 

A: Aesthetically, we create a “cure for the common buffet table” with displays of fruit rustically arranged as if at farmers market stand (above). We also offer a specialty: chef-carved fruits to order. It’s a visually stunning presentation that is not only more interactive and engaging, but also helps maximize food costs by reducing the waste associated with pre-sliced fruit.

Q: How does Caesars Entertainment use F&B to enhance networking opportunities?

A: A big trend is miniatures, which allow guests to sample and discover new tastes and experiences they might not otherwise try. It’s a great way to get people talking, too.Small versions of ethnic entrees are increasingly popular, such as our mini chorizo tacos, sweet and savory breakfast tamales and chiliquiles, each served in small vessels to highlight their appeal.

Continuing the “smaller is better” theme, a trio of desserts is very popular for plated dinners. An artistic grouping of petite-sized sweets on long rectangular plates is as visually enticing as it is delicious. Our guests delight in treating this final course as a gift to unwrap, explore and enjoy together.