To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Planned sponsored a three day Exclusive Event. Hosted as an alcohol-free cocktail-making party, a two-course cooking class and a Lebanse-inspired baking class, we designed this virtual event as an interactive way to showcase three incredible Planned partners.

Knowing that our clients are spread out across North America we were happy to have attendees join virtually from Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Markham), United States (California, Atlanta, Texas) and the United Kingdom (London).

It’s no secret that when arriving at an event, most people are thinking “I hope the food is good!” or “First stop, the bar!” and we wanted to keep that dialogue going, even if we’re unable to gather in-person.

By providing ingredient lists and recipes to the attendees each host was able to walk everyone through the recipes while answering questions and allowing everyone to engage with each other.

So, here’s the rundown!

Listen Bar

Lorelei Bandrovschi, the Founder and CEO of Listen Bar, a booze-free bar in Brooklyn, began the first evening with a small dance-party to shake off the day and remind attendees that this virtual event wasn’t another Zoom meeting!

Listen Bar’s motto “all bar, no booze”​ emphasizes their mission: to rewrite nightlife beyond alcohol. They have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America and The New York Times among other notable publications.

With homemade spicy lime juice, strawberry consommé and rosemary syrup on deck, Lorelei got the party started! First up the Spicy AF, which combines the citrus of lime, tart flavors of grapefruit with a kick of sliced jalapeño.

One drink in and insightful conversations in breakout rooms, Lorelei moved onto She Pretty. Poured into a coupe glass… she was pretty! A few delicate drops of rosewater and the deep red of the strawberry consommé topped with a fresh flower, She Pretty made for a picture perfect drink!

Last, but certainly not least, Ghost Me Maybe! A truly amazing trip for your tastebuds to embark on, it combined the beautiful aroma and sweetness of rosemary syrup with a balance from the sourness of lemon juice both leveled out with tonic water.

Listen Bar was able to virtually transport attendees from their individual homes to a beautiful NYC bar by using a combination of beautifully curated alcohol-free cocktail recipes, imaginative conversations, and the techno-dance music throughout. One attendee shared: “That was amazing! I think there’s a large misconception that cocktails always need to contain alcohol, but Lorelei showed us that they can be just as delicious and fresh without alcohol!”

O’s Kitchen Catering

As the energy was high and attendees were excited after Tuesday night’s virtual “night-out”. Wednesday night’s experience was hosted by Ola Akintola, the Owner and Chef at O’s Kitchen Catering. Based in Dallas, Texas, Ola turned what started as a one-off cooking opportunity in university as a member of the African Students Association into a successful catering company only in a few years time. In addition to being a successful chef, she recently published her first cookbook,Upscale Comfort.

From cooking as a young child in Nigeria, Ola brings fresh ingredients, high quality spices, and passion to the classes she teaches. An attendee shared, “Ola was a wonderful host. The energy was amazing and somehow she managed to keep it casual and engaging. The dish we created was simple enough for everyone to remember, but delicious enough to impress any guests that might be served! What a wonderful event hosted by Planned.”

Throughout the cooking experience, Ola shared kitchen tips, facts about where to source ingredients, and overall helpful knowledge to further improve everyone’s cooking skills.

With cutting boards, fresh produce, locally sourced shrimp and herbs on hand, the cooking experience began. From chopping fresh ingredients and whisking home-made dressing, the freshness and tang of the Italian Salad with scratch-made Dressing was a great way to kick off the meal.

However, the star of the show was the Linguine Noodles with Shrimp, a recipe she included in her cookbook because it’s a crowd pleaser. This pasta dish surpassed every expectation and filled everyone’s homes with a buttery garlic aroma that literally brought an attendees father to come to the kitchen to see what was cooking. He loved the energy and engagement of the class so much that ended up staying for the remainder of the class!

Ola hosted an experience filled with laughter, open conversation and left attendees not only with smiles on their faces but also with two incredible dishes to share with their loved ones at home.

Rebels in the Kitchen

Now that happy hour and dinner had been served, day three of the event commenced, because after all what is Valentine’s Day without a plate of sweetness? Rebels in the Kitchen, owned and operated by ambassador of Lebanese Cuisine in Canada, Chef Rawan Al Wadaa and her French Canadian husband Donald Charette, created a baking experience like no other on Thursday evening. Being rebels at heart, both Rawan and Don always strive to do things differently. They always seek to be creative with a dash of humour to get their messages across, which translated incredibly throughout the 45 minute baking class. With multiple camera angles, a stunning kitchen, and an incredible lighting set up, it was nothing short of the Food Network channel. There was even a quick commercial break!

With the oven preheated and ingredients on hand, Rawan guided the class in making Baklava, known in Lebanese as Baklewa. This deliciously flaky, buttery and nutty dessert was only made better by Rawan’s passion for Lebanese cuisine and her vast knowledge in the kitchen.

Rawan’s Walnut Baklava recipe was easy to follow however it also introduced new baking methods to help those following along learn more about baking. The final product was an incredibly crispy and sweet layered Baklava that left the kitchen smelling inviting and warm.

An Account Manager at Planned shared, “I loved everything about this class! The setup, the double cameras, the professional host and the easy recipe of course — everything was done so well. Being a big Baklava lover myself I can’t wait to continue to make this recipe! If a client is looking for a true baking experience, I would be proud to recommend Rebels in the Kitchen.”

For the next 30 days, you too can learn to make baklava with Chef Rawan by checking out the video recording of the event: Walnut Baklava by Rebels in the Kitchen to get more of an idea about how Rawan’s enthusiasm for cooking and baking can inspire your next virtual event!

Now that dessert was enjoyed, the event sadly came to an end. However, Planned is looking forward to continuing to host these incredible Exclusive Events! Planned is proud to be partners with Listen Bar, O’s Kitchen Catering and Rebels in the Kitchen. All three of these companies have completely transformed virtual events and are always able to modify and adjust recipes to each individual client to cater to the specific needs of each event.

If you’re interested in having any of these hosts reconnect your company through a virtual activity and leave everyone’s homes radiating with incredible smells, book a demo and join Planned!

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