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DALLAS, TEXAS – December 6, 2016 – Interactivity. DIY. Culinary Animation. Food as Entertainment. Performance Cuisine.

These exciting trends in banquet dining have dramatically transformed the meetings and events experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas -- and planners are loving it.  Inspired by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s Meetings of the Senses initiative, and then elevated to optimize group dining in particular, the new Meetings of the Senses program at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas is the latest creation of hotel executive chef Chris Southwick.

“People like to be involved in what they’re eating, and they like to be proactive participants in a meal,” said Chef Southwick. “This can be particularly meaningful in a meeting and event setting, when dining can be a diversion that equates to shared fun and to delighting the senses. It’s all about creating a relationship between the diner, his or her colleagues, and their communal senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and sound.”

Southwick’s new banquet menus are filled with movement and interactivity, and they include the following highlights:

  • Presentation becomes pure performance as pasta is created live in front of diners – so effectively that many say they’ll never see pasta in the same way again.
  • Delicious polenta is poured family-style onto butcher paper in the center of a banquet table –entertaining and delighting guests after a long day of meetings.
  • And then there’s house-made mozzarella, created from scratch, as it is dramatically stretched and pulled to fashion each guest’s own preferred dish.

Appealing to a diner’s sense of memory is an equal component of this compelling initiative. Just as songs evoke a person’s memory, so do foods and flavors. It is not unusual for Chef Southwick’s group guests to request their own creative but nostalgic meal selections – including a different dish for each person at the table.

  • Recent options include grilled cheese sandwiches prepared with upscale ingredients and flavorings – the ultimate pairing of evocative comfort food with fine delicacies. This perfectly layers new memories onto old.

For dessert, the sensory options are many and include nitro ice cream. Imagine caramel-infused nitrogen poured directly onto ice cream, as the chefs explain the mesmerizing scene and provide tips on how to enact it safely and effectively. Group guests are dazzled by this perfect end to an entertaining and participatory dinner.

Of note is the fact that these interactive new dining experiences do not add to banquet menu pricing, nor do they have to end once a meal is complete.

  • The hotel’s banquet chefs gladly will provide take-home menus and recipe cards, and they are willing to stage tables to that diners can capture the best possible food photography for their own personal Instagram feeds.
  • The chefs also provide practical education on the what, how, where, when and provenance of the ingredients which groups are enjoying. As Chef Southwick notes, “Our guests care about where their food comes from, and they want to learn everything they can about each meal they are experiencing. As chefs, we are thrilled to see this passion and interest among group travelers. We love every single minute of this new catering experience.”

For details on group dining, catering and banquet innovations at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, please visit www.ritzcarlton.com/dallas. To speak with a member of the hotel meetings team, please call the hotel directly.