10/25/12 10:53 AM Local tastes star at Cobo | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com
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Detroit ? Cobo Center is tapping into the buy-local phenomenon with a
completely revamped catering menu that features everything from Eastern
Market-bought fruits and vegetables to walleye from Lake Superior.
The move comes as more customers in Michigan and around the country
are requesting local offerings, said Jamie Miller, executive chef of
Centerplate, which caters events at Detroit's convention center. And he's
hoping that effort could be good for a business that caters high-profile
events like the North American International Auto Show and Autorama.
Connecticut-based Centerplate unveiled its new lineup on Wednesday.
"Michigan produces so many great agriculture products besides cherries and
blueberries," Miller said. "It's an honor to showcase the great things we do in
The new menu offers an Orleans Street strip sandwich ? a nod to the
Detroit street's slaughterhouse past ? a chicken breast stuffed with
Michigan cherries, pork loin topped with Michigan apple ginger chutney and
several Michigan wines.
Centerplate uses Detroit-based La Grasso Brothers produce distributors on
the condition that the company use as much local produce as possible, said
Jason Hougard, Centerplate general manager. "Our company strategy is to
make ourselves locally relevant," he said. "We try to partner with the local
Centerplate's offerings at Cobo will rotate with the availability of seasonal
produce, Miller said.
Eric Blanc, former president of the Event Service Professionals Association,
a New Jersey-based group for convention services managers, said seasonal
local menus are a growing trend. "More and more conventions are resorting
to locally grown produce," he said. "You have to be able to provide a wow
effect on a smaller budget ."
Blanc, director of sales and marketing for the Tampa Convention Center in
Florida, applauded Cobo for what he called a smart business decision .
"Will that bring a show to Detroit? I don't know," he said. "But will it increase
OCTOBER 25, 2012 AT 1:00 AM
Local tastes star at Cobo