Number of guests: 160
Event Company: Veritas Events
Destination: Cairns and Port Douglas
Veritas Events embraced the local landscape of reef, rainforest and cane fields for a client’s annual incentive, celebrating the achievements of their top sales people.
“The food for an incentive is always exceptional, but we wanted to take it to the next level and make it the hero. It would be part of the entertainment and be used to build anticipation for the event,” said Eugene Kennedy, director of Veritas Events.
The event agency selected local chef, Nick Holloway from the award-winning restaurant Nu Nu, to help bring their idea to life. In the pre-event communications, Veritas Events provided delegates a taste of what to expect, including a teaser video that showcased the destination and introduced the chef.
“Nick was filmed cooking one of his signature dishes – hot smoked red emperor and pink pomelo miang – on the beach at Palm Cove and the recipe was included in communications so that delegates could cook it at home,” said Kennedy.
To embody the laidback coastal lifestyle of Port Douglas, the heritage-listed Sugar Wharf was turned into an inviting waterfront networking space. As the sun set, Holloway shucked oysters right in front of guests and entertained them with local stories.
In keeping with the location, the menu showcased local seafood including line-caught reef fish with ricotta dumplings, spring greens, lemon and fennel consommé.
A working cane farm was transformed into the awards dinner venue with Nick serving coconut roast pork ribs with pineapple caramel and yakitori prawns from a cane blade grill. A cane field burn surprised guests as they enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and a band played classic Australian rock songs from a flat-bed truck throughout the evening.
Guests were treated to a salad of pickled prawns, palm heart, young coconut, pickled shallots, melon and mint. Lamb was smoked with ironbark in a rustic on-site smoker and served with pumpkin created using the branch, leaf, seed and oil of the vegetable.
For the grand finale a secluded bamboo grove in the rainforest was a stunning backdrop for an intimate five course dinner paired with wines. Guests danced to a live band and star gazed with an astronomer.
Melaleuca smoked red emperor with peanut and papaya relish, pomelo and salmon pearls and blue cheese and milk-infused grass-fed beef with flowering onions, bacon broth and bitter greens were among the extraordinary taste sensations created by Nick to ensure guests were rewarded with lasting food memories.
Veritas Events followed three golden rules to create a memorable event – find a hero, embrace the local landscape, and think outside the box. The result was an event that celebrated the region in a distinct way starting with the pre-event communications and continuing throughout the program day and night.