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Recipes For Success In Your Holiday Season

As we all know, it takes a lot of planning and preparation to pull off a perfect holiday event to celebrate the season. And whether you are an event planner sweating the details for 500 of your “closest friends” at the annual gala, coordinating the menu for a company luncheon, or putting the finishing touches on a festive occasion for your colleagues, the ingredients for success share the same “secret sauce”.

With the holidays nearly upon us, we thought this would be a good time to share with you our HRG "recipes of success" we have found to be successful over the years, in planning and producing memorable events. �

Here are a few tips you may want to consider:


1. Keep it Festive- Remember, it's a party! Choose a distinctive menu, include an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages, and entertainment or music that will keep it light and festive. At our “You Are ‘Cause’ for Celebration” event this year, the band featured electric violinist Daisy Jopling, who wowed the crowd with traditional and updated seasonal selections.

2. Set Ground Rules- Remind your employees that the same behavioral policies that apply at the office will also be in place during the party. Most of them are simple common sense workplace etiquette.

3. Check Your Party Policies- Take a few minutes to review your insurance policy, especially if you choose to offer alcoholic beverages at your party, along with travel policies, hotel contract coverage, etc.

4. Make a List? Check it Twice! - Review every detail with your event manager to make sure you are covered and all is prepared as specified in your contract. Remember, this is the busiest time of year for them, and the stress and strain can result in errors of commission, and omission.

5. Watch Your “Beverage Barometer” - If you have a large gathering, consider limiting alcohol consumption by providing drink tickets to employees of legal drinking age, or having a conversation with the bartenders before the party starts, and cut off serving alcohol 30-60 minutes before the party is "officially" scheduled to end. One more glass of that “truth serum” that leads to the launch of a new dance craze can be a real career-killer!

6. Keep the Message Merry!- Keep any company-related discussion about business brief and upbeat, if you are planning a presentation or a speech. Remember- this is a company party- not a business meeting.

7. Focus on Your Team- Be sure to thank your employees for their individual efforts and contributions to the company. Also, encourage your management team to mingle and introduce themselves to your employees, and to help with any details to ensure everyone enjoys the occasion.

8. Remember Recognitions-Thank ALL of the staff who were involved in making the event a success! Write down their names if you have to, and take the time to learn how to pronounce their names correctly.

9. Leave on a High Note!-Avoid awkward moments by thanking everyone for a great year. Celebrate the wins while you the outline the challenges ahead with a positive message to position for success in the New Year. Consider a quote from a widely recognized leader that everyone will be comfortable with.

10. Heading for Home- Consider the venue location and transportation options to and from your event, and, if possible, offer to pick up the tab for taxi fares and/or provide phone numbers for cabs and train schedules. Develop and post a designated driver list for a safe ride home. Consider offering discounted hotel accommodations.

A Special Holiday Recipe and Cheer From Celebrity Chef Peter X. Kelly

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of working with one of the more creative and engaging celebrity chefs in the NY metro area, Peter X. Kelly, founder of Xaviar's Restaurant Group, at the Westchester Father of the Year Awards to benefit the American Diabetes Association at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, NY. �

"The Holidays are all about family and friends, and nothing is more personal and intimate then cooking for those close to you".

Happy Holidays! Peter X. Kelly


Here's one of Peter's favorite recipes for a classic holiday hors d'oeuvre that he thought you may enjoy:�

Butternut Squash and Crabmeat Risotto


3 Lbs Butternut Squash
2 Quarts Water
2 Cups Sugar
6 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, minced
3 Tablespoons Butter
9 Ounces Arborio Rice
4 Ounces White Wine
1 Ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage, chopped
6 Ounces Jumbo Lump Crabmeat


  • Split Squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
  • Peel skin from Squash and cut in half-inch dice.
  • In heavy pot place 2 quarts water and 2 cups sugar and bring to a boil. Add butternut squash to syrup and boil 3-4 minutes till tender.
  • Remove squash from syrup and refresh under cold running water. Set aside.
  • Bring 6 cups of chicken stock to a simmer.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in 4-quart heavy bottom pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook till softened but not colored. About 3 minutes.
  • Add rice and stir with a wooden spoon till rice turns opaque (about 2 minutes).
  • Add white wine and stir till wine is absorbed.
  • Begin to add stock to rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing each addition to be absorbed before the next, until the rice is very creamy looking but still al dente (you’ll have leftover stock).
  • Add butternut squash, 2 tablespoons butter, cheese, sage and crabmeat and stir to combine.
  • If necessary add a little more stock to thin risotto.
  • Serve immediately.

We hope you consider our ingredients of success we have shared with you for your holiday event.

About Hospitality Resource Group

Hospitality Resource Group, Inc. (HRG) is a group of three vertically integrated companies, with over 17 years of experience in developing innovative marketing, training and event programs for businesses, education institutions, municipalities and not for profit organizations. HRG clients benefit from our proven ability to ignite market interest, engage consumers, and educate employees on how to manage and lead their companies to build brand equity, increase sales and improve productivity.


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