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Farm-to-Table Galas

June 03, 2015
To raise the most money during a gala auction, it helps to sell items that play on the event’s theme. It’s one reason why our trips to locations like Las Vegas are popular with organizations who throw “casino night” parties, or that sophisticated travel packages to places like Paris and London go well with black-tie affairs.

But an often-neglected way of pairing auction with event can be literally served up on a plate: Creating a menu for the evening that goes well with a Mitch-Stuart, Inc. non-profit auction travel package can be a fun way to highlight a night’s aesthetic while also making supporters hunger for a trip out of town. Some of our most popular trips include lots of exposure to local cuisine, and that means plenty of unique dishes to spice up your get-together.

One of the many traits New York City is famous for, of course, is its food. If you doubt that, ask any native New Yorker you know about where in the city to get the best slice of pizza or best bagel – but only do so if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill listening to the response. If a non-profit is offering one of our Big Apple trips – like perhaps the “Savor New York – Deliciously!” package, which includes a food tour through either the Lower East Side or NoLita? – a fun way of drawing attention may be to set up a faux-hot dog stand on the premises. While donors wander around and mingle, they can grab a dog as well. This works especially well at fancier parties, believe it or not, as there’s no better conversation starter than the shared danger of trying to eat a hot dog with ketchup and mustard while wearing formal clothing.

Want to go quirkier? Fans of the southwest will enjoy our “Sophisticated Southwest Style” trip, which takes donors on a four-day, three-night trip to Santa Fe, NM, to explore the culture of one of the region’s most artistically-forward cities. But Santa Fe is also a capital of southwestern cuisine, and to get the attention of your supporters, there is but one dish to serve: The Frito pie. The casserole-esque dish is said by some to have gotten its start in Santa Fe at a Woolworth’s lunch counter and even spawned a mini-controversy when chef and critic Anthony Bourdain insulted it during his CNN show. It works as a side dish or, maybe even better, as a passed hors-d'oeuvre; simply cut open a small bag of Fritos lengthwise and top with chili, cheese and anything else that would go on, say, a taco.

Tacos aren’t a part of the menu at most places in New Orleans, but if your organization would like to offer trips to the Crescent City there are plenty of culinary delights to pair with the travel package. Adventures like our “Discover New Orleans’ Celebrated Downtown” and “The Home of Jazz” both offer donors a chance to take a cooking class as the famed New Orleans School of Cooking, and it is almost a guarantee they’ll learn to whip up a beignet while in the city. The pastry makes for a perfect breakfast when in New Orleans, but load it up with powdered sugar and it can make an excellent dessert course. Don’t forget to add a strong cup of coffee and some live Dixieland jazz.

We don’t have a test kitchen, but we do have more suggestions – reach out to a Mitch-Stuart, Inc. travel expert to talk about offering one of these trips!


Carnegie Deli in New York
Santa Fe La Casa Sena
New Orleans School of Cooking
Louis Armstrong statue in New Orleans