Interview with Carl Batista, Chef at Real Sports & Bar Grill

By on July 29, 2013
real

After touring the Ottawa sports venue and noting its potential for event planners (as seen in last month’s issue), I built up quite an appetite. The food made such an impression on me that on my very next trip to Ottawa, I knew exactly where I was headed, and luckily enough, I was able to have a chat (and a quick bite) with Chef Carl Baptista. A seasoned veteran, he’s been working in the food and catering industry for over thirty years, and so today, he understands exactly what it takes to spice up an event. In the past, Baptista has worked at the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as well as the Urban & Urban Event Catering. I spoke to Carl over a refreshing blended beer, so I thought I’d share a slice of our conversation to make planners a little more food wise.

Q: What are some upcoming food trends for 2013?

A:

Communal/shared/family style menus which encourage small and large groups to share food. Not just your typical “tapas” style small sharing plates, but big platters that evoke memories of big Mediterranean or Chinese dinners. That’s the way to go! Think Momofuku (New York, Toronto), Zahav (Philadelphia), or Au Pied de Cochon (Montreal).

And the daily/nightly table d’hôte/prix fixe menu is a great idea too. A constantly changing, seasonally driven menu is another brilliant idea. For a taste, check out Ad Hoc (Yountville, CA) or Ruby WatchCo (Toronto)

Q: Given that many planners are working with tighter budgets, what are some ways that they can cut costs without sacrificing the food quality or “wow-factor”?

A:

Stationary food works well with large numbers. They can often be visually appealing and it allows for a variety that passed hors d’oeuvre cannot match.

You don’t necessarily need chef attended stations (an added cost), but charcuterie, cheeses & fruits, dips, breads & spreads, are all great ideas for feeding large groups on tighter budgets. Also, a talented banquet/catering chef can turn these displays into culinary works of art.

Q: What are some basic things that planners should know in terms of food and catering that would make an event run more smoothly?

A:

Know your theme and have some ideas of what you want, but be open to suggestions from the catering, events, and culinary teams at your venue of choice. They can all offer insight that you may have overlooked. In fact, I believe any event has to be a compromise between your vision and the venue’s ability to deliver. Don’t give up on an idea if it’s an important part of your event, but be prepared to bend a little in order to make it happen.

Finally, be sure to pick the right venue and the right caterer for your event. Check references, do sight inspections, have menu tastings (if your event requires it). Work with them – they are here to make your event a success. I’m not telling you to micro-manage them, but at the same time, ensure that they understand your vision.

Baptista conjures up the image of a fresh and lively communal / sharing styled event. He highlights a culinary togetherness that not only doubles as a work of art but inspires the economy and keeps local merchants prosperous; all of this, while being easy on the purse strings. This is music to any planner’s ears.

To get a taste of Carl Baptista’s food firsthand, visit the Real Sports Bar & Grill in Ottawa or send him an email at cbaptista@realsports.ca

 

 

 

 

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