Tuesday with the Pros: Karla Campos

Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry. Today's authority is Karla Campos, director of special events at Gourmet Celebrations.specialtyLI: What do you do here with Gourmet Celebrations?Karla: My job is essentially to do whatever it takes internally to produce events externally, including support for our vice president and event salesperson (who act as coordinators) as well as coordinating my own clients' events.LI: What exactly is Gourmet Celebrations?Karla: We are a full-service catering and event planning company with complete customization service, which allows us to work with each of our clients one-on-one to develop a completely unique menu for their event.  We also work with our sister company, Air Gourmet, so the phone is staffed 24/7, and we utilize in-house designers for florals, linens, etc.appetizersLI: What makes your menus and foods unique compared to other catering companies?Karla: In addition to standard menus to give our clientele ideas or starting points, we work with them to develop individualized menus. Whatever they want, we try to make it happen---I try and draw as much inspiration from every client's personality as possible, to really make each dish their own!  We have extensive interviews with our clientele to understand what they're going for with the design of their party, like whether there's a theme, or if they prefer modern dishes, or specialized cuisines.LI: What is your favorite dish that Gourmet Celebrations has produced so far?Karla: I'm an hors d'oeuvres girl, and my favorite so far is our Parmesan Crisps.  It's very light, and I think it's the perfect "sunny California" sort of appetizer.  To create them, we'll bake parmesan cheese into a cracker, and add lemon aioli and asparagus tips.LI: What are some of your favorite things about being director of special events for a catering company?Karla: I like the pressure.  I know it sounds funny, but I enjoy a challenge...and I like that with events you only have one chance to make it perfect.  I also really like trying to make each event different, ensuring that nothing's ever the same.LI: What kind of profile do most of your clientele fall under?Karla: Well, Gourmet Celebrations was born from the private airline catering company Air Gourmet, when Air Gourmet's clientele began to demand the same quality of food at their events that they are served in-flight!  So we have a large corporate and private party clientele base, and have designed quite a few corporate events, picnics, and office party menus.  We have just recently begun to service wedding events, as well.beetsLI: What would be your dream event to design, or cater?Karla: Weddings, and anything intimate with say, fifty people or fewer.  I particularly enjoy small garden weddings or elegant affairs at estates or private residences.  While Gourmet Celebrations is capable of any size or scope of party, I just think the smaller ones are more romantic and more fun to be thoroughly involved with for design.LI: Do you have any tips for clientele looking to save some money on their event?Karla: I would say, break it down and tell us what you want and we can go over all of it bit by bit and work together to make it happen.arrangementLI: Anything exciting on the horizon for Gourmet Celebrations?Karla: Yes, but it's confidential so I can't really talk much about it.  I will say that there is a celebrity VIP party that we are putting together for one of our big corporate clients.  I'm excited because we're bringing in a lot of different elements for it, such as lounge furniture and some floral pieces, etc.LI: As an event professional who deals with catering as well as design, what kind of advice do you have for someone planning a wedding or corporate event?Karla: Use your own personality as an inspiration point for the food.  Don't be afraid to serve an uncommon or innovative dish just because it's not your standard chicken or salad.  We're here to help you explore your options and make your menu reflect you as a person and support the overall theme or design of your event!For more on Gourmet Celebrations: Visit their website.