Note: This blog post was written by contributor Christina Lakey, author of Food Apparel.
Every January for approximately 10 days, filmmakers, actors, and lovers of art come together in the snowy mountains of Park City, Utah, to hold what is considered to be one of the top film festivals in the world: Sundance. This year was especially crazy, the festival being held over one of the heaviest snowstorms that the area had received since the 1980's. It was truly a winter experience.
The festival, founded in 1978, and known for its strong ties to Robert Redford who acted as the first inaugural chair, quickly became considered top of its class. To get a film into Sundance is nothing short of a miracle and an accomplishment within itself. After all of the screenings, the capstone event is the awards ceremony, where all of the creators get to praise their peers for a job well done and pay respects and honors to the truly moving films of the event.
The Closing Ceremony is held at the Basin Recreation Center which gives it a slick yet casual setting. Cuisine Unlimited, which provided catering for many of the events at Sundance this year, impressed with a huge buffet spread for patrons to come and go as they pleased and pick at all of the tastiness. There was a huge array of choices, including a great selection of gluten-free foods. Let's just say, I made my way back a few times because I'm a "grazer."
Really, all of the food was fantastic, but the prosciutto cups with goat cheese and fig were a new and tasty experience, probably my favorite of the bunch. I am vowing to recreate these beauties!
The full menu also included chicken brochettes with romesco, miniature lasagna cups, sweet potato gnocchi with a mushroom sauce, parmesan-encrusted artichoke hearts with pomegranate balsamic, ratatouille-stuffed portobella mushrooms, and antipasto skewers.
And who could forget the sampler of Italian petite sweets?!? Obviously, my heart was drawn to the cannelloni, which did not disappoint, but the pomegranate & almond polenta cake and the lemoncello lemon bars were vying for a close second. Other tasty desserts featured were biscotti dipped in rich, dark chocolate and mini Coppola-poached fruit parfaits.
Guests and filmmakers mingled, munched, and stopped for a drink at the bars set up on the fringes. The awards ceremony, although very prestigious, is also very casual. Deep black ceilings, multi-colored lights, thumpin' music......all just preparing for the anticipated honors and a celebration afterwards!
It was so entertaining to mingle in the world of all that is film. I had one particularly in-depth conversation with a film sales rep about her film, Dolores, which told the story of an immigration rights activist who worked her cause for labor rights well into her 80's. Dolores Huerta herself was in attendance earlier in the week to watch the touching documentary with all of her 10 living children present as well. What an experience that must have been!
Jessica Williams was the gracious host that had the honor of presenting the winners, along with a little dose of comedic relief. Jessica actually starred in a film called "The Incredible Jessica James" that ran at the festival, and was a previous correspondent on "The Daily Show." She gave us all a good time with her off the cuff humor and her tributes to the many talented people in attendance.
I wished that I had a chance to go back and watch all of the amazing films that were represented. Hopefully, with some getting distribution deals, they will soon find a way into our homes.
Thank you Cuisine Unlimited, for the enjoyable evening, and the perfect deliciousness to top it off. You and your staff truly know how to effortlessly run the catering so that people are well-fed and cared for.
Christina Lakey is the founder of FoodApparel.com, where she and her sister-in-law, Tammy, have been sharing their best recipes that can be dressed up for any occasion. Christina and Tammy thrive in the kitchen and love using real ingredients to make really good food and don't settle for anything less than a five-star recipe. Christina is also a self-proclaimed chocoholic, and runs the curated Instagram account @chocolateloversclub where she shares her chocolate finds and recipes, and all of the other latest chocolate trends going around.