Temperatures in Palm Springs and other desert cities are breaking records this summer, topping out at more than 120 degrees. But Chad Gardner, one of the area’s top event planners and caterers, isn’t breaking a sweat. His companies Chad Gardner Presents, and Dash and a Handful produce corporate events and charity galas for a long list of clients, including Pandora, Calvin Klein, Toyota, Nike, Twitter, VH-1, the Human Rights Campaign and the Annenberg Center at Sunnylands.
Gardner is a pro at keeping things cool when he’s staging events in August and September. Here are some of his tips.
Kitchen Setup—When setting up a kitchen for our events we make sure to incorporate a cooling system for our staff and use white tenting instead of black to reduce the heat within the tent.
Hydration—Hydration is key for both the staff and the event attendees. During the setup process, we tent the area with popups or umbrellas to keep staff cool and have water stations set up from the moment staff arrive on site to the moment they leave.
Misting Systems—Whether they’re freestanding or hanging from the tenting, misting systems cool ambient temperature by 10-15 degrees.
Flowers—When picking flowers for hot days, avoid delicate flowers like peonies. Additionally, flowers should be placed just before the guests arrive. No flowers should be loose without a vessel and water source as hot weather will cause them to wilt before the event concludes. Vining, or loosely tied garlands, is a great alternative and allows for plants such as eucalyptus.
Sample menu—The only warm item on one of his recent dinner menus is the chicken breast. It’s meant to be a cooling menu, designed specifically for the heat of Palm Springs’ summer.
Chilled sweet potato gazpacho, cojita cheese and tortilla strips
Cilantro lime glazed grilled mesquite breast of free-range chicken
Chilled spiced seasonal vegetables
Israeli couscous salad, grilled white corn, fresh basil, clementine vinaigrette
Assorted miniature sweets served family style
Chilled desert wine