Sodexo Conferencing Blog

Indoor Cabin at The Millennium Centre

Mandy Volpe - Monday, October 28, 2013

The Millennium Centre had a great event this past weekend for Appalachia Service Project. The three day event kicked off in the Tri-Cities with a stage decked out looking like a mini cabin. The crew spent the hours leading up to the event constructing the cabin to showcase the types of construction and project that takes place within the ASP community. 

Here is a before picture as the crew was setting up the cabin on the Ballroom stage at the Sodexo Conferencing Venue

The after picture is awesome as it really showcases the lighting and band set-up for the evening.

Thank you to the Appalachia Service Project for selecting The Millennium Centre as their venue for the ASP Conference!

The Holiday's are Coming!

Mandy Volpe - Friday, October 25, 2013
The Holiday's are just around the corner and the plans are being made for staff receptions to celebrate the season. Many of the the Sodexo Conferencing Properties will have special holiday menus this season for the upcoming events. To see a preview of these menus, visit the websites of the following venues:

Pickwick Gardens can create the perfect atmosphere for holiday gatherings with the on-site ice skating rink!

Black Canyon Conference Center has released their Holiday Menu:  Black Canyon Menu

San Ramon Valley Conference Center will feature a healthy holiday menu from the Mindful! collection which features nutritious selections. There are plenty of options for holiday events ranging from festive luncheons, catered dinners, and evening receptions. Check out the menus at: San Ramon Valley Holidays

Meet the Chef: Brad Littlejohn

Mandy Volpe - Thursday, October 10, 2013

Today’s chef spotlight features the Executive Chef from High Country Conference Center, Brad LittleJohn.

Q: How did you get started as a chef?

As a child, my grandmother was a huge influence in myself wanting to cook.  The way she measured items in the palm of her hand to the use of cast iron skillets.  When I got older and joined the Airforce, I would cook in every country that I would travel to.  I learned a lot about each and every culture through the way they ate.

Q: Describe your first job: Probably the same as everyone else, Burger King!

Q: When you are not at work, what is a go-to meal to cook at home? Pistachio encrusted Pork Tenderloin, Wild Rice, and grilled Asparagus with blue cheese.  Of course the meal has to be finished off with peach cobbler.

Q: Tell me more about your background. Where did you study to become a chef? Scottsdale Culinary Institute Le Cordon Blue

Q: As the Executive Chef at High Country Conference Center, you must have a favorite recipe.  My favorite is the Creole Catfish Po Boy. If you are interested in making one of your own, check out the ingredients below.

  • Parisian Breads
  • Catfish Creole Filet
  • Tomatoes
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Dill Pickle Chips
  • Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
  • Remoulade Sauce

1. Prepare catfish according to recipe. Drain well

2. Cut each Parisian loaf into 4 equal portions. Split roll, leaving a hinge. Tear out some bread from the crown and heel of roll to create a "boat" to better hold fillings.

3. Place 1 catfish fillet on heel of roll, top with 2 slices of tomato, 1 oz shredded lettuce and 5 pickle slices

4. Season with 1/4 tsp creole seasoning and drizzle 2 tsp remoulade sauce over fillings

5. Place crown of roll on sandwich to close and serve immediately

6. Offer condiments such as hot sauce, on the side. Pickle spear is optional

Taste of Johnson City

Mandy Volpe - Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Taste of Johnson City is a Chamber of Commerce event hosted in Tennessee. The Millennium Centre has been participating since 2003 and this year was no different. The Millennium Centre team are considered a crowd favorite each year with over 400 guests in attendance. 

This year, Executive Chef Jean-Claude created a unique spin on a few American classics. This year he created a duck hot dog in a sweet roll with red cabbage slaw. He also created a Native American B.L.T. The Millennium Centre team is already looking forward to next year’s Taste of Johnson City.  

Here’s a link to some more info from this year.


Meet the Chef: Sid Cawaling

Mandy Volpe - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

To continue our chef spotlight today we will feature the Executive Chef from San Ramon Valley Conference Center, Isedro “Sid” Cawaling  

Q: How did you get started as a chef?

I was undecided with my career path but was always fascinated with the kitchen at a young age.  I enrolled in the culinary program offered at Cabrillo Community College and that’s where my dream of being a chef took off.  

Q: Describe your first job:

My first job  was a delivery driver for Johnson’s Stationers in Watsonville.  I drove around town delivering office supplies to local businesses around town.  At age 16 I thought it was the best job ever!  

Q: When you are not at work, what is a go-to meal to cook at home?

I enjoy cooking meals that I grew up with… a comfort pot of chicken and pork adobo with steamed rice!    

Q: Tell me more about your background. Where did you study to become a chef?

After earning a degree in Food Service Technology I continued on to attend The New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.     

Q: As the Executive Chef at San Ramon Valley Conference Center, you must have a favorite recipe. 

Korean Style Chicken Wings!  With this recipe, I like to add minced garlic, minced ginger, and sesame oil to the hoisin sauce just before tossing the chicken and baking them in the oven.

Chef Cawaling is the creative mind behind the menu selection and recipe creation at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center. To learn more about Chef Cawaling check out his profile.

Mindful! Programming at San Ramon Valley

Mandy Volpe - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Healthy eating options just became easier for conference attendees at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center. August kicked off the newest Sodexo Program, Mindful!.

So what exactly is Mindful! and how does it benefit guests during lunch?

With Mindful! we are encouraging guests to take a proactive approach to their health. This strategy focuses on the achievements and benefits guests’ experiences in the short term. Such as improved energy, concentration, stamina and performance. Long Terms goals include changing behaviors that lead to improved health and a more balanced lifestyle

The Mindful! Program has such a wide variety that the novice to the experienced health nuts can enjoy healthier choices that will enrich their life styles.

Just a glimpse of the selections now available at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center.


Stay up to date on the latest menu selection and upcoming events by liking the San Ramon Valley Conference Center Facebook.

Unique Wedding Venues

Mandy Volpe - Friday, September 06, 2013

Wedding Venues come in all shapes and sizes. The best venues are the ones that have a beautiful location, parking for all guests, great customer service, and food that never leaves you wondering “is there a preferred caterer list”. Sodexo Conferencing offers two properties that specialize in weddings. Here is a glimpse into both venues and the gorgeous landscapes that make up the wedding sites.

Pickwick Garden Conference Center:

Located in the heart of Burbank, California on a two and a half acre lush greenery landscape, this property gives you the perfect spot for your unique wedding. Unforgettable ambiance, fine cuisine, and passion for detail are what set the High Country Conference Center staff above the rest. The wedding packages feature bridal lounges, floral arrangements, professional musicians, chairs, and candles. To view the packages, click here. Pickwick Weddings

High Country Conference Center:

Nestled in northern Flagstaff, Arizona, surrounded by pine forest and golf course scenery, this location is perfect for the bride and group who love heritage as well as the outdoors. Ballrooms and private banquet rooms are available for up to 800 guests. The High Country Conference Center offers a unique culinary experience that features health and nutritious options by expert chefs from Sodexo. 

For more information on High Country Conference Center Weddings click here.

Meet the Chef: Jean-Claude Seruga

Mandy Volpe - Wednesday, September 04, 2013

When asked how Chef Jean-Claude Seruga got his start he will attribute his love for cooking to his mother. He loved to spend time in the kitchen watching her cook. He was always volunteering, event at the early age of 4 to help his mom with the meal prep.


He got his first taste of working in a restaurant at the age of 14. He was in the kitchen of Chistera just outside Paris where for the first year he cleaned and peeled vegetables. During his time at Chistera, the executive chef tried to discourage Chef Seruga to avoid becoming a chef because of the long hours, no family life, and zero holidays.

Despite the urging to choose a different career path, he apprenticed in France. At 16 he joined Les Compagnons du Tour de France , an association of chefs who train you for 6 months and then rotate to another chef until you feel comfortable to be a solo chef.

Seruga comments that his favorite meal to cook during his time off depends on the audience.

“If it’s only for my wife and my kids, anything breakfast. Especially omelets. You can be so creative with eggs and whatever you have in the refrigerator. If some friend are coming to visit , I like to show off from time to time and make dishes that I know you can’t find anywhere around”.

Chef Seruga is the creative mind behind the menu selection and recipe creation at the Millennium Center. He makes it a point to add his own special touch to traditional recipes, even if the chefs he formally trained under get mad at his habit of veering from the recipe.

To learn more about Chef Jean-Claude Seruga check out his profile: