Cnk Cateringhas some seriously good-looking dishes on the menu this party season. We were thrilled to speak to the Cnk team of event addicts to get the low down on their party season must haves plus food styling tips for event planners wanting to impress this Christmas.
What are Cnk’s favourite flavours for event season?
This festive season we’re embracing summer and the modern, outdoor Australian Christmas!
We’re celebrating with seafood stations, piled high with oysters, prawns, mussels and house cured gravlax.
We’re combining this with Nigels’s traditional glazed Christmas ham, and an abundance of fresh and seasonal sides and salads.
Add in a fresh cocktail like a Moscow Mule, and the party is on.
What are Cnk’s style tips and trends for serving up beautiful dishes this festive season?
Less is more! At Cnk we use lots of fresh produce and really let it shine. Serve it up on beautiful, unique platters and you’re bound to succeed. We love garnishing with micro herbs too!
What simple things can people do when entertaining at home to impress their guests?
At Cnk we’re big believers in styling with florals! A big bunch of flowers on the table will really go a long way.
We also love using colourful and irregular plates, which is a simple way to bring a look and the dishes to life.
Linen napkins (rather than paper) are a sure-fire way of impressing your guests!
Finally, make your life easy with lots of prep-ahead dishes like salads, grazing boards, and a whole fish that can cook while you entertain – so you can enjoy the party as well.
We are officially in Christmas party season! Which is great if you’ve already organised your office Christmas party – but not quite as joyful a prospect if nothing’s been planned, and suddenly you’ve been lumped with the task of making it happen.
Sound familiar? For you, the team at Venuemob have whipped up a last minute Christmas party planning checklist to get you through December unscathed.
1. Figure out what your non-negotiables are
This first step is arguably the most important one. Know exactly what you need from your Christmas party and your venue, because it will impact the entire process of planning your event. Decide from the get-go whether those items on your list fall under ‘must have’ or ‘that’d be great’.
Your very-much-confirmed budget could be the non-negotiable. It could be the date of the event. It could be accessibility requirements, or menu items (vegetarian, Kosher or Halal, for instance).
Identifying your non-negotiables and must-haves early will make the rest of the process of planning your last minute office Christmas party SO much easier.
2. Find some venue options
You’re running out of time, and key dates are getting booked out. You could rack your brains for appropriate venues, contacting them one by one. Or you could book the venue everyone’s sick of – again. Or, you could access best options in one spot. Complete with imagery, availability information (vital), function package and menu information, and a rundown of minimum spend requirements for all spaces.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but venue location is worthy of its own item in the last minute Christmas party planning checklist. Is the venue conveniently located for your colleagues or guests? Where is it in relation to your office, and public transport options? How far will they have to stumble post-party? The distance guests have to travel to reach the party often influences how many people actually attend, and how much of a good time they have.
4. Ask the right questions
First up? That’s easy. Ask the venue about your non-negotiables.
Next, we recommend the following questions – depending on your requirements, of course.
What are our catering options? Is there a bar tab option?
How much time will you have for set-up and packdown?
Realistically, will guests be comfortable in the space, or will they be squished?
What’s included in the cost of the venue hire or min spend?
Until what time will we have access to the venue / space?
If you need AV – will you need to pay more?
If you need an exclusive space – will the public be able to see inside / have access to your space?
5. Organise food and drinks
Important checklist item ahead! How many times have you been to an event and thought afterwards ‘gosh, it was fun – but I wish there had been more food’? Avoid those pitfalls by ensuring you budget and plan appropriately, even when you’re in the throes of last minute Christmas party planning.
Will your guests need lunch? Lunch AND dinner? If you’re planning on serving canapés at your event, how many pieces will your guests need to make sure their tummies are lined? Consider when your event starts, and how long you expect festivities to run.
Same goes for drinks! Beverage packages provide more bang for your buck, and can be limited to a particular number of hours for service – this is a great option for when you have a very specific start and end time, and when you have a large number of guests.
More casual? Chuck some money on a bar tab, and let your colleagues buy their own drinks when it runs out. Easy.
6. Make sure guests are going to have fun!
Be honest. Are your colleagues going to need a helping hand to get mingling and chatting amongst different departments? If the answer’s yes, we recommend including an activity in the day’s festivities: go karting, an escape room, or other hands-on, fun experiences. You could even choose a venue that comprises both an activity, AND the food and booze everyone’s looking forward to.
For other teams, the only the thing they’ll need to have a great time is a great soundtrack. If you’re planning on bringing your own music or playlist, double check whether your venue is able to provide an aux cord and speakers, and that you can in fact play your own tunes.
Similarly – if you’re organising a band or DJ, chat to your chosen venue about your plan well in advance so you’re not caught facepalming in frustration on the night.
7. Tee up an after-party venue
This will depend entirely on the vibe and average age of your guestlist, but you may want to consider organising an after-party venue. If that’s the case, here’s the Venuemob hot tip: avoid playing it by ear on the night.
Nothing takes the wind out of a group’s party sails quite like standing on a street corner trying to decide which direction to take, or waiting in line at a club!
Whether it’s a reserved VIP booth or an entire semi-exclusive section of a bar, make sure it’s a done deal before the date of your office Christmas party. It might even be worth sending out an email to your team during the party planning process to gauge how many guests are keen, and which venues they’d prefer for kick-ons.
So. What are you waiting for? Go forth and lock in your last minute Christmas party, and deliver an event that runs like a planned-months-in-advance Christmas party.
With Venuemob on your side, you’ll be sinking a bev (or five) and enjoying a tasty morsel (or ten) in the perfect venue in no time.
Fancy partying with some adorable penguins this Christmas? The team at Complete Function Hire were thrilled to talk to Kate Stevenson, Event Manager at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium recently to find out about their super cool shared Christmas Party event experience, “Christmas with the Penguins” and to find out what makes SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium such an iconic Melbourne function space. If you are after an event experience that your guests will remember forever, this is the venue for you this event season.
Guests experience a special combination of nostalgia from having visited the aquarium as a child and the excitement of seeing the space transformed into a sophisticated event venue.
Whilst at most venues your biggest decision is picking a theme, our clients can choose between a back drop of King and Gentoo Penguins or a 5m Salt Water Crocodile! Our Fish Bowl event space in particular, is a pretty surreal experience, everyone enjoys fine dining, but fine dining at the centre of a shark tank, with a 360 degree view of the ocean’s most impressive creatures ensures a pretty memorable night.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium offers an experience that can’t be recreated anywhere else. As well as the obvious unique feature of viewing the cast of finding nemo as you sip a cocktail, we also offer amazing experiences such as diving. It’s not every day a corporate function begins with the CEO greeting their employees from inside a shark tank.
What is the most amazing / unusual event that you have hosted at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium and why?
We recently hosted a drag night called ‘Dragged Under’. It was incredible to see such an avant-garde performance in an equally dramatic space. In terms of creating an atmosphere for your guests, drag queens and stingrays are a winning combination.
We are hosting a Shared Christmas Party Event called “Christmas with the Penguins”. It is ideal for those looking for a more informal work Christmas party or as an opportunity to enjoy the aquarium child-free with a cocktail in hand. The penguins themselves are of course adorable and with our fun additions including a gourmet BBQ in the adjoining courtyard, Christmas dessert bar and interactive photo booth, it’s going to be a very memorable night!
Thank you to Kate and the team of event experts at the spectacular SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium! We can’t wait to visit again very soon.