80 Plates for Bravo

July 2012. New York City

Bravo’s new series, Around the World in 80 Plates, took the culinary competition across the globe, with layovers in exotic destinations that included Morocco, Thailand and Argentina.

To celebrate its debut season and to provide a sneak peek into the highly-anticipated finalé episode, Bravo engaged Empire to design and produce an original event to transport guests around the world.

In response to the client's brief to create an event that would transport guests throughout the evening to different locations around the world, Empire developed a plan to transform the cocktail party space by building three large circular turntable stages—each decorated with three foreign vignettes—that rotated on cue with dancers, live musicians and of course, delicious food from around the world.

The first hour featured a scene of the French countryside set with cheese & charcuterie boards, a “fiery” brick pizza oven in Italy and live flamenco guitarists in Barcelona’s Plaza Real. Speciality cocktails, peach prosecco bellinis & Spanish tapas-inspired hors d’oeuvres were also passed to guests.

A duet by flamenco dancers focused the crowd as the lead-in to executive remarks and a sneak peek reel for the show’s upcoming finale. Hosts Curtis Stone & Cat Cora took the stage to unveil the “journey” around the world, commencing with a spirited Chinese lion dance that wove through the crowd. Guests were then delighted as the French vignette rotated to reveal a Hong Kong dumpling stand. Italy turned into a tropical beach serving Thai satay & noodles and Barcelona simultaneously transformed into India, complete with the sounds from sitar and tabla musicians. By the time guests were onto their 2nd helping of cocktail-of-the-hour Mango Mumbai, DJ Aaron James began to drop in Punjabi beats and a troupe of Bhangra dancers poured into the room for a choreographed Bollywood routine.

For the third act, Brazilian samba percussionists emerged from the back of the room as the stages rotated once more, this time revealing Morocco dishing up savory falafel and Buenos Aires serving assorted spicy empanadas. A duo of capoeira dancers tumbled & sparred by the stage -- now a lively street scene from Brazil set with shimmering streamers and bistro lights. To continue to spice up the evening, a pair of alluring dancers, dazzling in sparkles & feathered headdresses, took to the floor to top off the grand Carnival finale.

In addition to all of the live entertainment, Empire designed interactive games for adventurous guests. At the “Guess & Flip” game, contestants were presented with a wall of photos from foreign locales visited on the show and were asked to guess the country. At “Taste the Exceptional Ingredient,” blindfolded participants had to touch, smell or taste mystery ingredients to test whether their palate knew its exotic flavors.

All of the evening’s vignettes were fully designed with a mix of prop scenery, authentic furniture, and fresh cut flora & foliage. While France featured a floor of live grass, the beaches of Thailand were powdery white sand. Guests even jumped onto the vignettes as the evening progressed, enjoying the spirit of the evening that only comes from great food and music. Every component of the evening contributed to a completely immersive and international experience, as guests were able to taste the cuisine, touch the vignettes, hear live musicians, and see vibrant dance performances. Empire Entertainment provided full event production services including concept development, décor design and renderings, event layout, live entertainment, run-of-show development, graphic design, catering coordination, audio/visual management, logistics, and onsite management.

Empire was thrilled to once again work with Bravo, who constantly pushes event-innovation to deliver memorable experiences for clients and fans.

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