February 2018 Print

From The Editor

Michael Testagrossa CPCE CHE  Michael Testagrossa, CPCE, CHE, Immediate Past President

This month we have a myriad of happenings in Las Vegas.  In addition to our normal influx of weddings, conferences and tradeshows, we have four holidays that bring in a variety of different visitors seeking celebration for Mardi Gras, love for Valentines, a New Year for Chinese tradition, and a long weekend with President's day.  In addition, we welcome back to Las Vegas Catersource which has had a long tradition of bringing in catering and event professionals from around the country to educate, inspire, and entertain us.  There is definitely never a dull moment in our industry!

For NACE this month, we also offer a variety of activities and information to share about opportunities, so be sure to check out all of the activities this month in the newsletter including:

We hope you have the opportunity to join us for our events!


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Chapter Meetings


Help us celebrate a very special Valentine's Day featuring a presentation about Wedding in Las Vegas!

The latest news is in - Weddings are back on track and increasing in budget.  Las Vegas continues to be in the trends and a preferred destination for couples to tie the knot. 


 Join NACE Las Vegas for Lunch Wednesday, February 14th Saint Valentine's Day.

 Guest Speaker Cheryl S. Smith, MA, CMP. HMCC Specialty Markets Manager


 from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority who will be speaking on Wedding Trends in the Las Vegas Market.  Learn about what the LVCVA is doing to bring in more weddings to the local market.

Cheryl is an accomplished author, speaker, and serves on several boards in Las Vegas. In 2014, she was named as one of Las Vegas' "Women to Watch" by Vegas Inc.

 Alexxa features International Flavors and is an exiting new addition to Las Vegas

with a recent December 2017 opening!


Passed Hors d'oeuvres

Chorizo Meatballs- herb yogurt, pickled red onion, cotija cheese

Veggie Empanadas- black bean and roasted mushrooms, asadero cheese

Crispy Chicken Skewers- bread & butter pickles, spicy honey

Choice of Entree

Hexx Chopped Salad- hearts of palm, avocado, sweetie drop peppers, tomato, artichoke, green goddess dressing

Turkey Club- Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, herb mayo, avocado, on cranberry challah, served with French fries

Hexx Classic Burger- kobe beef, aged Wisconsin cheddar, peppered bacon, sesame bun, 1000 island dressing, served with French fries

Chilaquiles - chicken , salsa, tortilla chips, two eggs, avocado, sour cream


Peanut Butter Cheesecake - peanut butter, caramel, spun sugar, whipped cream, candied peanuts 



February 14, 2018
11:30 AM PST to 1:30 PM PST

Alexxa's Bar
3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89107
Venue Website


Self parking is available at the Paris Hotel as well as valet for a nominal fee.


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Raffle Dazzle


We are excited to annouce that in 2018, 25% of our raffle funds will help fund our Community Service donations. We are consolidating our efforts at meetings to continue to fund the great work of our Community Service Committee. The Las Vegas NACE Chapter  continues to partner with local non-profit organizations to give back including Street Teens, Olive Crest and Candlelighters.  

This month's featured raffles prizes include:

High Roller - Michelle Dillard

(2) Tickets 

Border Grill - Destiny Hampton

$100 value gift certificate & autographed cookbook

Showtime Marking - Luanne Terrell

(2) Tickets to Carrot Top

Carmine’s/Alicart Restaurant Group   Kay Kolbo

$25.00 value gift certificate, cookbook and signature BBQ sauce

Sight and Sound – Jodi Harris

$25.00 inspirational book and box of candy


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NACE Culinary Experience Events


We look forward to planning upcoming events to offer unique options for our members and guests to experience a variety of cuisine and interesting venues throughout the city. Our goal is to select venues and experience that offer unique catering options or cultural cuisine to learn what is available in the community.  These events are designed to be more casual, with smaller groups to allow for time to get to know other members and guests in the industry.  If you have an idea for a unique venue please reach out to with your suggestion and include "Culinary Events" in the subject line.



BLACKOUT Dining in the Dark will take you on the most unique sensory journey you have ever experienced. When the sense of touch, hearing, taste and smell are heightened, food, drinks and dinner conversation become a brand new adventure. Eating in the dark at BLACKOUT allows for an extraordinary dining experience time and time again.

If you are looking for a one of a kind dining event, this is the perfect opportunity to test your culinary skills with a six course pre-fixe menu including one glass of wine.  Join the Las Vegas NACE Chapter for dinner in the dark for a night of discovery and fun!  Limited seating is available for this event, so please reserve early!

Get an inside look at dining in the dark at BLACKOUT here: 


As part of the unique dining experience, the restaurant features a rotating "mystery menu" each night to offer new adventures for each visit.  The menu includes six courses that will stimulate your taste buds and encourage conversation for the group to test your culinary knowledge and taste buds and includes your choice of beverage.  When registering, please include any dietary restrictions or allergies. 


Our dining adventure begins promptly at 6:30 PM so please arrive no later than 6:15 PM to check-in.  On site registration is not available.  All payments are due with your registration.  As a featured member benefit, NACE Members may register a guest at the member rate!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018
6:30 PM PST to 8:30 PM PST
 Add to Calendar

Blackout "Dining in the Dark"
3871 S Valley View Blvd Ste 8, 
Las Vegas, NV 89103
Venue Website


Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the restaurant.  The restaurant is located just behind the Gold Coast Hotel near the corner of Valley View and Viking.


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The Foundation of NACE invites you to a fun evening of mixing & mingling. Join us on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm at Virgil's Real BBQ and enjoy:

  • Live music
  • Amazing food
  • Complimentary drinks
  • Connecting with local catering and event professionals
  • A chance to win amazing raffle prizes*

RSVP by clicking "going" on facebook to reserve your spot today! All are welcome to attend this FREE event. You do not need to be a member of NACE to attend.

The Foundation of NACE is a 501c3 organization that supports the catering and events industry by awarding scholarships to students pursuing careers in the industry and distributes grants to NACE chapters with the purpose of giving back in their communities.

*Raffle tickets are available to purchase onsite.

Thank you to the event sponsors


Sight and Sound


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Experience! Palm Springs

Call for Creative Consultants for #NACEEXP18

NACE is looking for creative consultants from across the country who would like the opportunity to inspire the attendees of the 2018 NACE Experience Conference. Volunteer creative consultants will lend expertise and experience to help design the following conference events:

  • Opening Reception
  • Opening General Session
  • Foundation of NACE Annual Fundraiser Event
  • NACE One Awards Gala
  • Oasis Experience: A new hub with culinary and design showcase areas

Selected consultants will work with peers and industry professionals to bring fresh and innovative ideas to life. Event designs will be showcased to bring an atmosphere of inspiration for conference attendees.

We are looking for creative individuals who work well on a team, within a budget and have cutting edge event designs.

Submissions are due February 12 and selected designers will be notified by February 28.

Apply Now! 


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What are your professional goals for the year? Getting your Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE) is an investment in your career that shows employers and clients your aptitude and commitment to the profession. NACE offers the opportunity to accomplish your professional goals with self-paced, online courses available through the NACE store.

Get started today! Review our certification requirements and download an application today.

Prepare for the certification exam and earn credits through the following options:


Hurry! In celebration of NACE’s 60th anniversary, we want to offer you $60 off the CPCE application fee when you submit your application by February 28, 2018.

Certification Scholarships Available
Aspiring candidates can apply for a CPCE scholarship through the Timothy S Y Lam Foundation. Learn about eligibility requirements and apply today

Contact your CPCE Concierge to get started!

Crystal Irwin

Crystal Irwin
Program Coordinator

Congratulations to our newest Las Vegas Member who earned her CPCE!

Keri Makanas CPCE Keri Macanas, CPCE Associate Director of Catering Sales, JW Marriott Resort and Spa

If you are a Las Vegas NACE member and recently earned your CPCE, please let us know so we can include you in the newsletter!


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Membership Spotlight


Each month, we showcase members from the Las Vegas Chapter of NACE  as local professionals who are dedicated to the hospitality industry with a focus on professionals in Catering and Events, as well as a member who has attainted their CPCE Certification.


Angel Kroenecke Angel Kroenecke, Sr. Wedding and Event Coordinator, Cili at Bali Hai Golf Course 


Krista England Krista England, Director of Product Development, Hello Las Vegas 


Mitchell Meconi CPCE Mitchell Meconi, Catering, Banquets, Food and Beverage Management, South Point Arena, Hotel, Casino and Spa


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NACE Legacy


NACE started with humble beginnings in 1958 in New York City as the Banquet Managers Guild.  Over the years, the organization has grown across the country and with the industry to become "One Industry, One Association".  

From its local beginnings in New York City, NACE has grown to encompass more than 4,000 members in more than 40 chapters in North America. NACE continues to raise the standard of professionalism in the industry through education, certification, standards, ethics and professional recognition programs. NACE remains dedicated to growing and changing with the industry’s needs, providing critical resources for all its members, wherever they are in their careers and whatever their positions.  Read our story


Each month, we celebrate our members who have been a part of the organization throughout for at least five years, providing their continued mentorship, participation, and support of our chapter and guidance for emerging leaders in our industry.


Mark Shaffer Mark Shaffer, President, Beautiful Bride Magazine


Michael Testagrossa CPCE, CHE Michael Testagrossa, CPCE, CHE, Catering & Conference Services Manager, Caesars Palace


Karen Knox Karen Knox, Director of Catering, Mirage Hotel & Casino


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New Members


NACE membership provides you with an instant network of more than 3,500 professional colleagues in the catering and events industry. Whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced professional, the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) has the education, tools and resources you need to build and excel at your career.

Each month, we welcome our new members to the organization.  If you see them at a meeting, make sure to say hello and show them some Las Vegas hospitality!


Angela Dowd Angela Dowd, Account Executive, Totally Mod

Li'Shey Johnson Li'Shey Johnson, Director of Catering and Events, Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa


60th Anniversary of NACE


Join one of the oldest hospitality professional organizations and take the next step in your career.  Belonging to a professional organization demonstrates a commitment to your career and industry, as well as provides opportunities to become more involved in shaping the local professional community.  NACE members also refer business to other NACE members, as well as provide career opportunities!

It is as easy as a few clicks of your mouse to add your name to the list and begin learning more how to enhance your career through membership in NACE.  

  • Membership is for one year from joining and includes you in the NACE National directory, as well as the Las Vegas Chapter.

  • Members attend meetings for a discounted rate, attend special "Members Only" events, and are able to earn discounts as part of member benefits.

  • A variety of membership types based on number of members and years in the industry.

  • Consider joining a committee and running for a position to be a part of the Board of Directors.  There are also opportunities to participate on a National level in a variety of committees


 NACE Membership


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Member Benefits


Why become a member of your local NACE Chapter when you can just attend monthly events?  Joining NACE offers a variety of benefits for personal and professional growth, as well as an opportunity to become part of an incredible national organization!  Each month, we will share information about one of the great benefits of joining NACE.


Do you like to save money?  Becoming a NACE Member is not only an investment in your career, lower monthly registration to meetings, special perk of bringing a guest to our Catering Experience events for the member rate, but also offers some great discounts with National Partners listed below.

  • AFR Event Furnishings – Members receive 20% off all orders.
  • Assurance Association Benefitt Solution (AABS) – Insurance quotes in all 50 states, representing carriers of health, dental, vision, life, and pet insurance, etc. Free benefit discount card for all NACE members, offering discounts on various prescriptions, vision services, lab tests, etc.
  • BBJ Linen - Receive 10% discount on linens. 
  • BizBash - Discount on directory listings.  
  • CORT Event Furnishings – Members receive 20% discount off all orders.
  • GigSalad - Save 40% off a Pro or Featured membership.  
  • Hertz Rental Cars – Members receive various discounts on car rentals.
  • Industry Events - Registration discounts to BizBash, Catersource and the Special Events Show. 
  • ThriveHive - 20% off your first year with ThriveHive.
  • TSYS –  discounted credit/debit/purchasing card processing services.
  • UPS – members save up to 34% on shipping.  
  • Verterra - Save 10% on sustainable ware for your special events.  
  • - Referral fee when referring Wine for the Reception to your clients.

Need more reasons to become a member of NACE?  Check out this great article outlining the Top 10 Reasons for Joining a Professional Organization.


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NACE supports the continuing education of our future leaders and current members in the industry.  There are two opportunities to earn scholarships for education.


2018 Foundation of NACE Scholarship Opportunities

The Foundation of NACE scholarship program provides awards/scholarships in the form of tuition grants, travel grants, leadership training grants, and professional development to those who want a career in the catering and events industry. 


Las Vegas NACE Scholarships

Each year, the Las Vegas Chapter of NACE awards scholarships to members to attend the annual Experience conference.  Scholarship applications will be issued in January 24 and are awarded based on contribution of time and services to the success of the Las Vegas Chapter including meeting attendance, contribution of services to programs, participation on committees, and donations to your charitable organizations in the 2017 year.  Scholarship applications will be distributed to members in January and are due by March 14, 2018.

For more information on the scholarship form, please visit our Scholarship Information page.


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Get Involved!


You get more out of your membership in NACE by becoming involved as a volunteer.  The opportunities for professional growth are endless as you assist with our monthly programs and events as a part of a Committee (local or national), and joining the Board of Directors.  This is your opportunity to have a more active role in your career and industry through participation.  For more information, visit our Get Involved webpage to learn more about the following opportunities.  In addition, speak to one of our Board of Directors for more information as to how you can become more involved to promote yourself and your business.


In accordance with an update to the local bylaws, the entire Board of Directors will be elected in October 2018.  This will include both the Executive Board Positions, as well as the Director positions for Members, Programs, Hospitality, FUNdraising, and Community Service.  In August 2018, a call for nomimations will be send to all eligible NACE members in good standing.  Individuals may nominate themselves or be nominated by other members.  For more information on the positions available, eligibility, and information, please visit our Board of Directors Elections page.


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Community Service


The Las Vegas NACE Chapter embraces the Spirit of NACE in our commitment to our local community in believes in supporting our community through outreach to local organizations.  Each month, our Community Service Committee organizes to support a variety of local charities including Candlelighters, Street Teens, and Shade Tree.  Money raised at meetings goes to a variety of items to support these charities, from bottled water to gift cards.  If you are interested in assisting with any of their efforts, please contact Kay Kolbo for more information.

For 2018, the Board of Directors for NACE has also updated our fundraising for community service by donating 25% of the monthly raffle proceeds to the Community Service Committee to help fund our ongoing efforts to support the local community.


Each month, members of the Las Vegas Chapter donate hot meals and desserts for the monthly dinner for Street Teens and will continue to donate throughout the year.


  • January - Kay Kolbo, Carmines/Virgils
  • February - Shauna Lederman, CPCE, CHE from Estatorio Milos

Street Teens



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Las Vegas NACE has created a cookbook of member recipes to spice up your year.  Enjoy some member favorites, as well as samples from local celebrity chefs!

Purchase online or at an upcoming meeting. 


Gain exposure for your business by donating raffle prizes to the Las Vegas NACE Chapter, and earn points toward scholarship to attend Experience!  To provide raffle donations, please contact


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Members on the Move


NACE is committed to helping our members grow in their professional careers and develop their businesses.  If you have news to share about a new job, promotion, accomplishments, or awards let us know and we will post it!  And don't forget to update your contact information with NACE National by logging into your account at


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Promote your Business



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Learn more about maximizing your membership and utilizing the Las Vegas NACE website.


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Chapter News

The NACE Las Vegas Chapter newsletter offers you the opportunity to link with other Catering and Event Professionals.  Our newsletter is published quarterly and accepts submissions for articles, calendar of events, employment opportunities, community service, business updates, and other NACE success stories.

Articles:  To submit an article or other information for inclusion for our next newsletter please submit your information by the 4th day of the month.  The Calendar of Events and Employment Opportunities will be updated weekly as we receive information.  What are you waiting for?  Be in the NEWS! 

Calendar of Events:  Share your upcoming events such as open houses, grand openings, or showcases to invite other NACE members to participate or attend.  We will update this regularly even after the newsletter is issued so check back regularly to see what is new!

Employment Opportunities:  Have you checked out the classifieds?  If you are seeking another qualified individual for your business send us information including the title of the position, qualifications, contact information, and any other pertinent information to attract other industry professionals!  And don't forget to let us know once the position is filled to welcome them!

Business Updates:  If you received a promotion, changed positions, or expanded your business we would love to hear about your success!



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