Michigan City Chamber Takes Guests All Around the World at Their Annual Dinner

The Annual Michigan City Chamber of Commerce Membership Dinner at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa was a culinary experience that doesn’t happen every day. Guests at the event were treated to a top notch meal that was painstakingly created by the chefs at Blue Chip.

The Annual Dinner is a fundraiser for the Michigan City Chamber. All proceeds from the event go back to the Chamber so that it can continue to do work within the community and make Michigan City a good place to live and work.

Ann Dahm, President of the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce, was the energetic MC for the evening. She welcomed everyone to the dinner, and then recognized members of the Chamber that were celebrating Chamber Milestones (those that have been part of the Chamber for a certain amount of years). Then Dahm gave out Presidents Awards, reflected on the events of the past year and then what is going to happen in the future.

“All of our members came together to celebrate our success over the previous year and we look forward to the coming year,” Dahm said. “This is a very special event for us and I think that everyone is having a wonderful time. I think that the enthusiasm has been contagious.”

The theme of the dinner was “Flavors from Around the Globe”. Executive Chef Patrick Higgins, Executive Chef Rudy Paniagua, and Sous Chefs Dan Daniluk, Wei Liu, Teddian Jackson, Erik Keever, and Nick Rajski spent months putting together a menu for this dinner. The final result was a five-course world tour.

The first course was an appetizer trio that included a traditional Chinese meatball atop a bed of noodles, a French bite with a bacon wrapped scallop with crushed pistachios, and a nod to Italy with a savory eggplant parmesan topped with marinara and parmesan cheese. The second course was a Jamaican influenced salad. It had Boston bib lettuce, jicama, other fresh vegetables, and papaya vinaigrette. On the side was a crunchy little phyllo cup filled with chicken curry. Then America had a turn with a palette cleansing granita that had hints of cinnamon and Applejack Brandy. For the main course, a Japanese braised short rib was served. The hearty dish was completed with a sweet potato puree and a hoisin based sauce, then a garnish of artichokes, tomatoes, and poached pears. For the fifth and final course guests were given a traditional Mexican flan. The creamy creation was topped with whipped cream, a shard of dark chocolate, and a plump raspberry. 

“We really put our creative genius into each an every plate to really allow our chefs to shine and show what we can do,” Nick Rajski, a Sous Chef at Blue Chip Casino, said. “This is a pretty big deal for us because it brings a lot of people to us and it allows us to see what our work does, it allows us to see the smiles on people’s faces which are instant gratification to the chefs. We love to interact with people even though we are usually in the back kitchen. We love this. It’s a great event for the community as well as our company.”

This year the Chamber decided to try a different angle when it came to special additions for the dinner. Instead of silent or live auctions and other past activities that the Chamber has done, they decided to do something that was reflective to them as a Chamber. So they gave the members an opportunity to network via a gift. Each member that participated created a centerpiece made with items that represented their business like gift certificates, chocolates, a free stay in a hotel, etc. And those centerpieces were placed on the tables throughout the banquet hall. After the meal concluded, Dahm drew tickets out of a jar and who ever had the matching ticket won a centerpiece.

“Members are able to showcase their business by being table sponsors and providing the centerpieces to be used at door prizes,” Dahm said. “Doing this kind of event is something that I’ve tried to build on and make bigger and better each year.”

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Click here to find out more about the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce!

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