Judging by the crowd at June 16’s Taste of NJ event, everybody loves an event where the purpose it to eat and drink to your heart’s content. The Taste of NJ, supported in part by a grant from the NJ Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, as well as corporate sponsors like Johnson & Johnson, drew a large crowd of food and drink lovers eager to sample some of the state’s offerings. Hyatt Regency New Brunswick hosted the successful event that was held booth-style in one of the hotel’s event rooms.

Food-wise, it was all here - from mini crabcakes, chili, barbeque and Mexican food to healthier offerings such as salad samples and fresh juices. Of course, there was plenty to sample on the sweet side with everything from artisanal chocolates with dreamy fillings to delicate ice cream sandwiches.

Specialty beers, wines, spirits, coffee bars and freshly brewed iced teas were also some of the biggest conversation starters with attendees, but certainly the highlight was watching Chef Roble, of Bravo’s Top Chef series, in his live cooking demonstration. A few lucky winners got a front row seat and were invited to sample his creations.


With the events industry at a near standstill, Jess Doren realized this may have been the moment she’d been waiting for. Having produced large-scale events for big brands like Apple and Buzzfeed, she’d had little time in the past to develop events of her own, but this past summer, she and a team of fellow event pros set out to gather a community craving connection.


Imagine a playground for event professionals–where there’s no pressure to be somewhere or to stick to an agenda—and you’ve got Haute Dokimazo, HD for short. “There’s a time and place where education needs to happen, but we also, as senior event managers, sometimes need to talk to each other,” says Liz Lathan, chief experience officer at Haute Dokimazo.


Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.