Become Atlanta’s Most Successful Gala Host With These 4 Tips!

Catering and Design to Make the Best Atlanta Social Event | Legendary Events When you’re planning a social event in Atlanta, every detail matters. As the host of a black tie fundraiser, everything from choosing the right venue for your gala to selecting the color palette will play a big role in the success if your event. Here are some tips for planning a successful fundraising gala.  Continue reading

How to Include Metallics in Your Corporate Event Without Going Overboard

How to Include Metallics In Your Corporate Event Without Going Overboard | Legendary Events
You’ve reached the decor stage of planning your corporate event or party. After entertaining the notions of several different color palettes, you find yourself being drawn to ideas that literally sparkle and shine. Metallic hues are trending and using them in your event space can infuse a luxurious air to help keep your corporate event from going bland. But how do you add a sheen to your business affair without blinding your guests? Continue reading

Celebrate Summer with Seasonal Citrus!

At A Legendary Event, our award-wining floral team is busy designing magnificent centerpieces. For color and pizzazz, we love including lemons and limes for a less predictable touch. With summer starting to sizzle, now is the time to let some sun into your celebration and brighten your home with brilliant hues of yellow and orange. Legendary Floral Director Jeanna Graham enjoys adding citrus to A Legendary Event’s table- scapes. Guests asked ‘How did you think of that?’ That’s the “Wow” factor we aim for at Legendary which is colorful, creative, and unexpected.” One of the biggest trends in floral arrangements this year is also unconventional centerpieces and using fruit to catch guests by surprise. These arrangements add vibrant colors that dazzle the eyes and citrus fruits provide a fresh aroma that brings the sunshine inside. To jazz up tables and place settings, slice freshly picked lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, or bergamots. Combine different fruits for a fresh and clean arrangement. Try sliding lemon slices into a clear vase, and then fill it with flowers and ice water for a “Legendary” look. Simple and sophisticated, this is a solar flare that will keep your company coming back for more.

A Tony Evening

The New Loews Hotel set the perfect stage for this last weekend’s gala, A Tony Evening. All of the raised proceeds benefited the Alliance Theatre. Our talented event designer, Sophia Lin made it a stylish and upscale atmosphere that blended the setting of the hotel with an artistic rendition of A Tony Evening logo. The logo, which captured the essence of classic style and elegance with filigree patterns, portrayed a contemporary edge with its paint-like splatter design and unconventional color scheme. Sophia also utilized a mixture of soft and bold purple tones combined with dark blue, turquoise and gold, and jewel tones that dramatically came to life with the neutral hotel palette.
The step and repeat was anything but traditional! Sophia found her inspiration for the step and repeat on on the red carpet at the this year Grammy’s.
The centerpieces for the tables were a perfect marriage of traditional beauty mixed with modern style. Each centerpiece was constructed with a composition of stacked clear and turquoise colored glass for a glistening effect with the room lighting. These centerpieces contained a mixture of golden and orange toned florals mixed with deep purple blooms. Conventional florals such as hydrangea, roses and tulips were mixed with orchids, mums and other bold florals for a full yet simple look. A sleek crystal base table lamp was added to the composition and topped with an ivory tapered shade. Square votives were also used in the centerpiece, which again created a sense of modern style.
The theatrical filled evening, which starred Broadway Star Elaine Stritch, was a huge hit!! Our team did a fantastic job at this memorable event!!
****Photos courtesy of our fabulous Nancy Jo McDaniel!!!

New Executive Chef

photo courtesy of artstarphotography.com

Chef Chad Harrison has been appointed to the role of Executive Chef at A Legendary Event. As the newest member of A Legendary Event’s award-winning culinary team, Harrison brings over two decades of experience in International and American menu design, food preparation, and traditional and modern culinary techniques.

His vita includes culinary work at the renowned Alexander’s Restaurant in Hilton Head, South Carolina; The Grand Ole House in the Grand Cayman Islands; the Marriott’s Pine Isle Resort; and monthly television appearances and food demonstrations with local media. Harrison’s extensive experience in both restaurant and off-premise banquet cuisine makes him an ideal fit at A Legendary Event. His modern approach to classic cuisine is based in his formal training in European culinary techniques mastered under German Master Chef Tell Erhardt.

Harrison’s culinary work has garnered several distinctions including the Tampa Tribune’s “Best of the Bay Chef’s Award,” and Tampa Bay Magazine’s “Best Bay Caterers Award.” As Executive Chef, Harrison will oversee all aspects of A Legendary Event’s culinary department including menu design, overseeing daily kitchen operations, food preparation, purchasing, and working closely with the Executive Sous Chef, Executive Pastry Chef, and the entire culinary team at A Legendary Event. Owner and President of A Legendary Event Tony Conway said, “Chef Harrison will be a great asset to our team—we’re delighted to have him on board.”

Tony Conway Caters to Atlanta’s rich and famous (as published in The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 5/10/09)

(by Jennifer Britt, photo by Jason Getz)
The lunching ladies were on the way. The tables were laid estate-style, set end-to-end like shimmering runways. Tony Conway orbited the arrangement to make sure glasses lined up exactly, that the seats of the chairs barely touched the tablecloths, that the hydrangeas, tulips and peonies were fluffed to perfection. “My designers say, ‘Nature doesn’t do that,’” he said as he fussed over a bloom. “I’m not nature.”

The founder and president of A Legendary Event, Conway’s client list includes Jane Fonda, Elton John and Tyler Perry (he oversaw the million-dollar opening gala for Perry’s new studio last fall). A more-is-more kind of guy, Conway’s catering and design company turned a section of the unfabulous Civic Center into a sumptuous event space during the run of the King Tut exhibit. When the Atlanta Symphony Ball chose “La Vie en Rose” as its theme a couple of years ago, Conway showered the InterContinental Hotel’s ballroom with 7,000 blooms.

“My life is just a party,” said Conway, whose 12-year-old company employees 200 staffers and 42 managers; his partner, Steve Welsh, is the firm’s creative director. “I love what I do, even when I’m not doing it. I’ve never gotten bored.” A fixture on the scene (and behind the scenes) at the city’s major society and charity events, Conway is well-known among the air-kissing set, but his background might not be. The first crowds Conway fed were the field hands on his great grandparents’ farm in Weinert, Texas, a dot on the map about 250 miles northwest of Dallas. He got his first paying job by doctoring his birth certificate, and once contrived to bartend during an Ike and Tina Turner concert even though he was too young to drink legally.

The man who serves some of Atlanta’s wealthiest and most influential residents got into catering almost as a dare to himself, and clients who have become friends marvel at his aplomb. “One time, we had an event and the reservation person hadn’t done that good of a job,” said frequent event chairwoman Sally Dorsey, who’s been throwing parties with Conway’s help for years. “Someone called up and said, ‘Who will I be sitting with?’ Tony said, ‘Oh you have the most fabulous seat. It’ll be the greatest seat in the house.’ Of course, we didn’t even know they were coming.”

Sandra Baldwin, active with numerous charities, chaired the Atlanta Ballet Ball at the Ritz-Carlton while Conway was there. They decided to pitch a tent for the after-party, where the Dixie Chicks played. “The fire marshal was about ready to shut us down,” Baldwin said. “Tony handled everything. I don’t know what he did, but he took care of it. We’re the Will and Grace of Atlanta. When I get all crazy he’ll say, ‘Grace, calm down.’ Tony’s like the eye of the storm.”

Conway’s unflappable demeanor was formed in the predawn hours down on the farm, where he spent summers as a child. He learned the importance of timing (if the biscuits weren’t served hot, his great grandmother would say, the butter won’t melt) and of hard work. “I remember my great grandfather saying, ‘We’re going to hoe cotton,’ ” he recalled. “I said, ‘I’m not doing that. The hoe’s too big for me.’ “Without missing a beat, the old man snapped the tool over his knee and handed the shortened implement to his 7-year-old great grandson. “He used the other end to give me a spanking,” Conway recalled.

The future events planner honed his social graces amid the ladies in his great grandmother’s sewing circle, and learned the importance of giving back and not wasting. “We would keep the ends of vegetables to make a stew or feed the animals,” said Conway, who remembers sharing the garden’s bounty with neighbors. His entrepreneurial streak blossomed as a teenager. He recalls sitting on the tailgate of his mother’s station wagon, tossing the Houston Post onto driveways in the dark. At 15, he aged himself a year with the deft application of correction fluid and landed a job at an ice cream parlor.

“That lasted about three days,” he said. During his senior year of high school, he got a job washing dishes in the kitchen of a Holiday Inn, where his mother ran a salon. “I heard Ike and Tina Turner were coming and asked if I could help bartend,” he said. Underage but undeterred, 16-year-old Conway positioned himself behind the bar. “I had no idea my mom and her friends were coming,” he said. “Busted again.” But on the morning when two buses carrying a bowling league showed up — and the cook didn’t — the dishwasher stepped behind the grill and onto a career path. “It was myself and two waitresses, Ann and Marge,” he said. “We cooked breakfast.”

After college at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied business and marketing, Conway and a friend opened a gourmet deli in the Houston area. Not satisfied with walk-in customers, he decided he’d like to get into catering. Some family friends held seats on the art museum’s board, and Conway persuaded the museum to give his fledgling business the contract for its black-tie gala. The only problem, of course, was that he had no experience.

“We called Glorious Food in New York,” he said, referring to an established, high-end events firm there. “We asked if we could work for free, to learn.” At the end of the catering crash course, Conway rallied every friend and relative he could talk into it to rent a tux and help on the big night. The event went well, but his business partner was nearly done in by the experience and closed the deli. “I was jobless,” Conway said. “I was like, ‘What do I do now?’ “Ready for another leap of faith, he answered a Marriott ad seeking a director of catering. “You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?” the interviewer asked. Conway pleaded for a chance, and thrived. He ran the catering operations in several Marriotts, then interviewed on Christmas Eve 1991 for a position as the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton’s director of catering and conference services.

“I drove to Atlanta in a snowstorm,” he said. “My first day I got a phone call saying, ‘Employees can’t get to work.” His professional Atlanta debut started with a shift manning the phones for a snowbound switchboard operator. “He never ruffles,” said Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, a retired Coca Cola executive who now donates her time to the arts and charity. She is co-chairwoman of Meal to Remember, a November gala benefiting Senior Citizen Services. Conway will handle the decor, as he did for the host committee luncheon he was preparing for the other day. The ball is likely to draw more than 300 people, but Crusoe-Ingram has attended Conway-catered luncheons for eight or 10. She said he’ll attend to a handful of people in someone’s home, and a ballroom packed with social swans, with the same level of care.

“He has high standards,” she said. “He likes doing elegant things.” Not that A Legendary Event, which moved last summer into a 55,000-square-foot building in the Westside area, has never faced a snag. “We have [driven] into the side of a client’s house, driven over the lights, blown wax all over a beautiful sideboard,” he said. “Fortunately, insurance is great. I’m a pretty level-headed person. I never yell and scream.”

Conway enjoys traveling and usually has half a dozen books going at one time (“The Kite Runner,” “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” and “What Would Google Do?” have all been on the nightstand lately.) He says he’s not interested in expanding the business to new locations or more cities, but is considering culinary school, for some formal training as a pastry chef. And in his free time, Atlanta’s quintessential party planner trades exquisite hors d’oeuvres for the simple flavors he learned to love in his great grandmother’s kitchen. “My favorite place for dinner is my home,” he said. “I’m happy that comfort foods are back. If I had my last meal, it would be fried chicken. Isn’t that crazy?”

WHEN FOOD AND ART COLLIDE

A Legendary Event’s Executive Chef Lincoln Stevens served his innovative presentation style “Kaleidoscope Menu” last week at The Savannah College of Art and Design’s Scholarship Gala. This annual event featured student demonstrations, performance art, and a silent auction of student and professor artwork. The crowd of 575 guests were awed by a performance art piece that one observer described as a “post-apocalyptic Amelia Earhart” dance. The gallery hummed with excitement as the goggle-clad dancers moved with ballet precision to bass laden ambient music. The post-modernistic dancers writhed and perched upon various rungs of ascending and descending wooden ladders that gathered centrally at the room’s core. In addition to the genre-breaking performance art piece, the original paintings and photographs that hung around the room’s perimeter were another testament to the eclectic range of the school’s enormous talent. Guests also had the opportunity to place their bids on distinctively crafted jewelry and sculpture pieces.


Following the presentation, guests followed the thread of creativity through to Chef Stevens’s experimental menu. After surveying the array of “Hues of Protein,” “Starch Notes,” “Vegetable Tones,” and “Glazes” that lay before them—the guests “built” their own menu. Chefs at each “window” worked directly with the guests to help them create an ideal menu that suited the nuances of his or her palate. Many of the guests relied predominantly on the guidance and suggestions of our veteran chefs. Others, with a taste for experimentation, got down right creative. Guests seemed drawn into the experimental spirit of the Kaleidoscope Menu. An experimental culinary affair was perhaps the only way to underscore SCAD’s innovative spirit. Chef Stevens remarked, “this [The Kaleidoscope Menu] is the perfect menu for this event because it’s the perfect merging of colors and flavors.”