By Jenny Berg Posted February 1, 2011, 2:30 PM EST
CHICAGO Food was in no short supply at the Museum of Science and Industry's Black Creativity gala on Saturday night. Celebrating the 40-year anniversary of the Black Creativity program, which honors African American culture, heritage, and scientific achievements, the 700-guest affair offered a strolling buffet with six stations.
Mary Krinock, the museum's director of strategic initiatives, oversaw the planning process with Octavia Hooks, manager of community affairs. After replacing the gala's traditional sit-down dinner with a strolling buffet last year, planners decided to stick with the new format. “It just worked, and we got a lot of positive comments about it,” said Krinock. “People liked being able to network and move around more.”
Inspired by the museum's new “Science Storms” exhibit, Sodexo's buffet stations got energy-themed names. At the “Wrath” table, spicy offerings included stuffed banana peppers and giardiniera-laced calamari, while the “Ray of Light” buffet held roasted organic vegetables and artisan cheeses. The “Twisted” table was loaded with potpies and mashed potatoes; chefs carved Brazilian meat at the “Ignite” table; and the “Surge” station offered chilled seafood and oyster shooters with hot sake.
Ivan Carlson & Associates brought flowers and prop butterflies to the cheery, gardenlike dessert station. A bed of wheatgrass sprouted strawberries, macaroons, and Oreo cookies on sticks. Guests were encouraged to dip the treats into fondue, or what the menu referred to as the “chocolate river.”