May 2014  

Eat the Heat

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CPCE (Certified Professional Catering Executive)

Become a Certified Professional in Catering and Events
Join Now and Get
$100.00 OFF Your Enrollment!

Click here to download the application or apply on line at
Please submit your application, documentation and payment 30 days prior to the exam date.

We are proud to announce that the Certified Professional Catering Executive (CPCE) designation is now the Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE) designation!  The CPCE designation is the catering and events industry’s most prestigious professional certification.  NACE is continuously developing the certification to meet the needs of our dynamic industry.

Congratulations to our newest Austin Chapter CPCE: Julie Diaz, CPCE

The goals of the CPCE program are to:

  • Establish a nationally recognized standard of competence in catering and events
  • Promote professional commitment to excellence in catering and events.
  • Endorse active participation in educational offerings that support the continued competency of Certified Professionals in Catering and Events.
  • Aid employers in identifying qualified catering and events personnel.
  • Enhance the professional image of the catering and events industry professionals.
  • Provide a sense of personal achievement for the advancement of one’s career


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Experience Conference

Thank you Baltimore, see you in Scottsdale!
Stay tuned to the Nace National website for the online photo gallery and our recap video.

The Nace Experience Conference and Expo is an annual industry conference produced by the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE). The event features three days of educational sessions developed by thought leaders in catering and events.

Words of wisdom from past Experience attendees:

Experience! 2013 Conference by Laura Page, CERP

There are always ways to improve upon, enhance or re recognize the importance of good customer service skills.  I learned that, me, being better organized = a better experience for my clients.  It’s all about relationship building (vs. using the word “Vendor” use the word “Business Partner”), good time management and effective communication.  Get to know your client and be timely responding to customer inquiries.  Find out what is intrinsic to your client and don’t be afraid to propose the “dream”  to them, don’t ever assume your client can’t afford it.  Your challenge may be how to make it happen within their budget because you can’t give it away.

There were also good tips on PR and promoting your company.  Your website is the 1st face of you.  It’s good to have FAQ’s on there (answers to frequently asked questions such as what the process is to book you, any minimums, what territory you service, deposits required , etc. – address anything that gets asked over and over again) or possibly even feature a live chat section.  Testimonials can be helpful, your website should be emotional to relay the experience of doing business with you.  Which strikes an interesting question as you review your own company’s information , “Would you do Business with You”?  This was actually a session title and topic at conference - really gets you thinking doesn’t it…

Experience! 2013 Conference by Brianne Mouton, CPCE

Attending my fifth conference, it is always exciting to see what the host city has planned, hear and see what new trends are emerging and collaborate with industry partners across our sister chapters and Chicago did not let me down! Any party is not hot without some theme intertwined throughout the event: from our opening reception "The Devil in a White City" to walking into the Emerald City for opening breakfast and keynote one could find all sorts of ideas to bring home (check out our chapter facebook page for some great pictures of the event).

One breakout in particular that I want to highlight was called "Setting the Table to Better Serve Same-Sex Couples" presented by Kathryn Hamm of It was interesting to listen to the speaker and that by working and being open to new traditions and options that couples are adopting/doing that it will actually help us all be better at planning weddings for all types of couples,  not just same sex marriages. Below are a few of my take-a-ways.

1. Education Yourself: follow experts, watch headlines, attend conferences. Couples are looking for professionals, they want someone to help them bring their dream/vision to light, yet couples are lot more savvy these days. Be knowledgeable about the rights in the state you work in and the legal side of things (or at least know someone you can send couples too).

2. Should you choose to work with same-sex couples, update your website and marketing to include words such as "couples", "fiance" or "partners" and not specifically "bride" or "groom". All about first impression and your image/brand.

3. Expand Your Network: Make sure you talk with your business partners as well to see how they feel about working with same-sex couples. It is not about being right or wrong but having a team that is willing to serve the couple on their special day. Another item that was pointed out was to even take it a step further and talk to your employees about the event you are planning to work on (can't control peoples opinions and don't want your staff walking out minutes before an event starts).

4. Couples these days are straying from the traditions of our parents and grandparents and are even creating new ones. We are seeing a lot of "brides-men" and "groom-women" in bridal parties and one can't always assume that in a picture with a bride, her bridesmaids and then a man in a tux , that the man is the groom, rather a part of the bridal party or that a group of men with a women in a tux jacket and black shirt is a same sex marriage. Sometimes it is not even about the couple that is getting married but rather about a family member or close friend that will be attending with their partner and it is imporant to the couple that they feel welcomed.

5. Don't Assume, Ask and Innovate, be knowledgeable about military weddings traditions, be mindful of the CHOSEN & BILOGICAL family members of your couple, be a leader!

The LGBT community is a group that still ranges from those who have lived closested lives to those who have not, those who have supportive family members and those who do what if thinking differently about reaching and serving same-sex couples hels you better serve ALL couples?

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Words for Thought

Our Mission Statement:
"To provide catering and event professionals superior education, networking and resources to enhance career success and deliver excellence to clients."

In our Spring/Summer Newsletter issue we want to share some thoughs on Leadership-

What are the differences between a leader and a manager? 
A leader is someone that people WANT to follow and a manager is someone that people HAVE to follow. Leadership is the action to lead people whereas management is the process of dealing or controlling people.

There are 5 practices of exemplary leadership.

1.Model the way.

2.Inspire a shared vision.

3.Challenge the process – search the opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.

4.Enable others to act – foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.

5.Encourage from the heart – recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

 Ever heard the motto “Do what ya say and say what ya do”. This can go a long way in both our work and your personal lives. It can help build trust, confidence and belief in the people that we are and the people we can become.

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Event Professional Spotlight


In this Spring/Summer Newsletter issue we are featuring John Crow with Ace Mart - Restaurant Supply

2415 S. Congress. Austin, TX 78704

Here is a little bit of backgroup information about our friend John.  He tells us about what he did before Ace Mart, how he got to where he is today and what he enjoys doing outside of work.

"I started working in the food service industry when I was 16 years old as a busboy in San Antonio.  When I moved away and for college I worked at several restaurants cooking in the kitchens trying to make a little fun money.  Eventually I ended up at Whole Foods where I worked in the meat and seafood department.

Post graduation I went into banking, selling financial products and eventually became a manager at a local credit union.  I was completely bored and missed my foodservice days.

Central Market was looking for an experienced seafood salesman so I jumped on the chance.  Again, I worked my way to management.  With two little kids at home, I decided it was too much time away from home and came to Ace Mart.  I had used Ace Mart as a vendor for many years and thought it looked like a great place to work.  Much of the staff had been at Ace Mart for many years and seemed happy.   I also liked the idea of working for a family owned business. 

At Ace Mart my title is Customer Relations Associate aka CRA.  My main focus is to handle all needs of our Key Accounts.  I love it.  This allows me to meet so many people from all kinds of backgrounds.  I feel that you learn so much about cultures and traditions through food and eating.  My customers are intensely passionate about their business which adds to the excitement.  I think my favorite part of the job is meeting with someone about their dream and taking it from just an idea to something solid and profitable.  I love driving by a crowded restaurant and knowing I had a little something to do with the success.

About 2.5 years ago I started attending NACE meetings.  At the time I had little knowledge of catering and events and everything that goes into the two.  NACE has greatly increased my knowledge which allows me to better serve my customers.  Of course, it is also a wonderful opportunity to network and build a loyal base of customers.  I’ve had several deals sent my way from attendees of the NACE meetings. 

Here at Ace Mart the majority of our staff comes from the foodservice industry and we have decades of experience to fall back on.  Ace Mart itself opened in 1975 in San Antonio, TX.  Since then we have grown to one of the better known suppliers with stores and warehouses throughout Texas.  Currently we have around $16 million in inventory ready to go at anytime.  This separates us from most of our competitors allowing our customers the ability to purchase what they need when they need it.  Other suppliers order from the manufacturers and drop ship the items but that really delays the time between purchase and actually having the product in hand. 

Outside of work I love to spend time with my kids.  I also enjoy cooking.  Music and Food festivals are always on my calendar.  Travel is something I can never get enough of.  I’ve been around the world; studied Gothic Literature at Cambridge, lived in Jakarta as a child and still have much more I want to see.  My favorite thing to do is experience new foods on my travels."    


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President's Report

Emerald was the color of the year for 2013 so our NACE Austin Chapter started out the year in January with the installation of New Board Members and the re-instatement of continuing Board Members.  Our theme for the evening was “There’s No Place Like NACE” and I can still envision the moment as we took our oath to serve the Austin Chapter, stating ……….there’s NO Place Like NACE…. there’s NO Place Like NACE and click click click….. Suddenly we were all in the Emerald City leading the NACE Austin Chapter on a wonderful year. The event was hosted at the Stephen F Austin with the ballroom walls draped and illuminated Green and Amber lights. The tables were magical with clear acrylic chairs setting off our emerald clothed dinner tables and centerpieces that took you right into the Emerald Forrest. My compliments to the Stephen F Austin Hotel for hosting a wonderful four course dinner and to Premiere Party Central, Marquee Rents and Floral Renaissance for setting the scene for the Enchanted Forest. As the incoming Chapter Vice President and then President, I was excited to join this years NACE Austin Board of Directors. Our mission was to bring awareness to the Austin Community that NACE which was formerly known as National Association of Catering Executives was now NACE….National Association FOR Catering and EVENTS. Our goal was to advance the catering and events industry and its professionals. In these changing times, our industry has evolved and our membership includes professionals from both catering and event professionals and thus the name change. Our CPCE certification (Certified Professional for Catering and Events) now includes event professionals.

In February I attended the NACE Leadership Conference in Denver Colorado with 130 other NACE professionals.   The conference was designed to teach new NACE leaders the importance of the NACE Code of Ethics, How to run a successful board meeting using Roberts Rule, and why clients choose to do business with a NACE member.   Your NACE professional embodies trustworthiness as well as posses the highest level of integrity. They are well respected amongst their peers to offer their clients great value by working with other NACE members to provide high quality events.   During the conference we networked with other NACE Chapters and discussed their chapters programs and fundraising efforts as well as some of their challenges. WE really are ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY of event professionals who have a NETWORK of help.

In July I attended the NACE Experience Annual Conference in Chicago Illinois with over 500 other NACE Chapter attendees. The Experience conference offered top notch training in all areas of catering and events. It truly was an experience to remember.

BUT the highlight of my year was our FUNDRAISER “Eat the Heat” which themed “Keep Calm and Chill ON”. This progressive Cocktail Party stated at Buffalo Bills then proceeded down to Maggies Mays and ended at the top floor of the Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the entire city of Austin the place NACE Austin is proud to serve. As a Fundraiser we partnered with A Smile Never Fades and our team of NACE Professionals and our Chef’s Showcase which provided A Smile Never Fads with $4,000 and raised Scholarship funds that will allow us to send NACE Austin members to Leadership in January2014 and to Experience in July 2014.

This November we are electing new Board Members for 2014 which will be installed in January at the Austin Country Club. It has been an honor to labor with each of our Board and members this year and I look forward to 2014 and the NEW things we will accomplish as a TEAM.

Remembering…………There’s No Place Like NACE”   Thank you for a GREAT 2013 in the Emerald Colored City of NACE AUSTIN!

Deborah Ayala

NACE Austin Chapter President

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