Temperatures in Palm Springs and other desert cities are breaking records this summer, topping out at more than 120 degrees. But Chad Gardner, one of the area’s top event planners and caterers, isn’t breaking a sweat. His companies Chad Gardner Presents, and Dash and a Handful produce corporate events and charity galas for a long list of clients, including Pandora, Calvin Klein, Toyota, Nike, Twitter, VH-1, the Human Rights Campaign and the Annenberg Center at Sunnylands.

Gardner is a pro at keeping things cool when he’s staging events in August and September. Here are some of his tips.

Kitchen SetupWhen setting up a kitchen for our events we make sure to incorporate a cooling system for our staff and use white tenting instead of black to reduce the heat within the tent.

HydrationHydration is key for both the staff and the event attendees. During the setup process, we tent the area with popups or umbrellas to keep staff cool and have water stations set up from the moment staff arrive on site to the moment they leave.

Misting SystemsWhether they’re freestanding or hanging from the tenting, misting systems cool ambient temperature by 10-15 degrees.

FlowersWhen picking flowers for hot days, avoid delicate flowers like peonies. Additionally, flowers should be placed just before the guests arrive. No flowers should be loose without a vessel and water source as hot weather will cause them to wilt before the event concludes. Vining, or loosely tied garlands, is a great alternative and allows for plants such as eucalyptus.

Sample menuThe only warm item on one of his recent dinner menus is the chicken breast. It’s meant to be a cooling menu, designed specifically for the heat of Palm Springs’ summer.

First course

Chilled sweet potato gazpacho, cojita cheese and tortilla strips

Entrée

Cilantro lime glazed grilled mesquite breast of free-range chicken

Chilled spiced seasonal vegetables

Israeli couscous salad, grilled white corn, fresh basil, clementine vinaigrette

Desert

Assorted miniature sweets served family style

Chilled desert wine

Hello readers,

The tides are turning with new venues in Chicago, with some of the most creative spaces we’ve seen opening in recent years. The brand-new Shore Club is one of those standouts. The seasonal structure, placed square on the sand near North Avenue Beach and with floor-to-ceiling windows offering unobstructed views of Lake Michigan, evokes a coastal vacation feeling many would travel to exotic locations to find—but is right in our own backyard.

 

These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to brittany.trevick@tigeroak.com.

Melissa Carroll was recently hired as head bartender at South Water Kitchen.

1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as head bartender?

 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have named 2017 as the "Year of Public Art", and some of Chicago's hottest hotels will be housing living, breathing art installations. Chicago's reputation as a host of cultural and artistic inclusivity has inspired hotels to showcase art in their spaces for the rest of the year. Some of the hotels that will be hosting art pieces are the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel; The Blackstone, Autograph Collection; and Thompson Chicago.