Thursday, March 1, 2012

SAVOR…Chicago at McCormick Place Introduces Chef Vincent Lai

SAVOR…Chicago, the foodservice leader chosen earlier this fall to run Chicago's McCormick Place food operations, proudly introduces Chef Vincent Lai as its Director of Culinary Services. Chef Lai comes to Chicago via the San Jose and Vancouver Convention Centers and the world-class kitchens of the Renaissance and Mandarin Oriental Hotels.

Chef Lai, a Vancouver native, has spent the past decade delighting visitors and exceeding their expectations and now his culinary talents are receiving praise at the nation's largest convention center. Chef Lai loves fresh, local ingredients and lets the calendar dictate the special seasonal dishes he creates. Acknowledging the challenge of catering for very large groups while maintaining creativity and excellent food quality, his response is that it's all about the ingredients. “My advice is always to get the ingredients right and then we'll figure out how to prepare and serve the menu to hundreds or thousands of people.”

His menus are consistent with the Asian influence of his cooking background and he excels at mixing ethnic cuisines. From box lunches for 16,000 to dinner for 4,000 or an intimate reception for 50, Chef Lai believes in keeping it real. “We use the freshest ingredients and taste everything. Our client tastings are done as true to the event as possible including appropriate holding time as it would for the actual event. It's important to me that a meeting planner has the same experience as their attendees will. SAVOR…Chicago is committed to excellence at every step of the experience and I am delighted to join this world class organization.”