Big-name Chicagoans including Mayor Rahm Emanuel donned spiffy attire to attend a $1,000-a-head gala. But when they arrived, they punched a time card, entered into a dimly lit warehouse, and feasted on soup served out of trash cans. The Museum of Contemporary Art’s ArtEdge gala, held February 2 for the first time in the institution’s warehouse, was indeed a little edgy, and it had an all-pervasive factory vibe.

“The theme was directly inspired by the M.C.A. Warehouse’s structure and location,” said Gina Crowley, the museum’s director of special events and rentals. “The building was once a bakery, and the surrounding neighborhood has a very industrial feel.”

Once the theme had been established, the in-house planning team collaborated with Jewell Events Catering and the gala’s co-chairs to design a buffet-style menu that would meld wintery comfort foods with snacks befitting the gritty theme. Creative presentation was key, and the catering and museum staff worked with HMR Designs to design innovative food stations that got guests chattering, laughing, and squealing with delight. Here’s a look at some of the night’s freshest catering ideas.

BizBash Article