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Not only has the bar been raised for convention offerings, it has been shattered and entirely redefined.

I have been in the Marketing arena professionally for almost 25 years. One of my biggest responsibilities has been the coordination of national tradeshows and events, sometimes coordinating up to 60+ events annually. I have a long standing relationship with the meeting and convention scene, and I’m all too familiar with convention center food and catering.

Don’t misunderstand. I have full appreciation and respect for the teams who feed convention and meeting attendees. They are a special breed, in some cases feeding literally thousands of attendees in a single meal. Attendees who are usually on a strict timeline. The chefs and support crews are talented, organized and focused. They are truly like the super heroes of conventions. I couldn’t do it.


While the food is usually solid, and you typically don’t walk away hungry, I don’t recall any conventions, meetings or any large events of any kind where I was truly impressed with the meals; a meal where I thought, “Wow. THAT was very good!”

Realistically, how creative can you be when serving so many and if you do dare to step outside the box, how successful could that be? Cobb Galleria Centre, with the kitchen led by Chef Nicholas Walker, has proven it can be ultra creative and amazingly successful.


Chef Walker has been with Cobb Galleria since May of 2010. His approach is fresh and innovative for both corporate and social events. Inspired by his Georgia roots, Chef Walker makes every dish from scratch from the pickles down to the dressings and condiments, with most ingredients sourced from local and regional farms as well as local small businesses.

Not only has the bar been raised for convention offerings, it has been shattered and entirely redefined.


I was recently invited to attend a dinner at the Galleria at the Chef’s Table. The evening began with Champagne and an Amuse Bouche of Green Tomato Pie with Goat Cheese.


This dish was wonderful. The crust was tender, yet flaky and the filling was rich and savory. I want these in my daily life.


The Amuse Bouche was followed by the first course of Smoked Scallop Crudo with Country Ham, Fresno Chili, Celery and Grilled Peaches. While crudos are becoming commonplace, Chef Walker added newness to the dish with a cutting edge smoke infusion. Simple elegance.


The second course of the evening was Charred Carrot Soup and Baby Grilled Cheese with Yogurt Powder. Who doesn’t love grilled cheese?


Next, came Southern Fried Quail with Buttermilk Pancake, Black Pepper, Sorghum Vinaigrette, Apple and Frisee. The flavors in this dish were pronounced, purposeful and blended fantastically. It was the perfect amount of sweet and savory; an incredibly solid and unique take on classic chicken & waffles.


The fourth course brought a personal favorite, Braised Rabbit with Sweet Potato Dumplings. The rabbit was seasoned and cooked masterfully, with dumplings reminiscent of hand crafted gnocchi.


I thought for certain the rabbit would be my personal favorite dish of the evening. However, I was blown away by the fifth course; Creole Catfish, Pork Belly, Creamed Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Harissa topped with Okra Crisps. This. This was spectacular. The textures and flavors were exquisite.


Our last course of the evening offered an immaculate Vanilla and Ginger Blackberry Cobbler served with Buttermilk Gelato. Dessert was ambrosial; a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.


All courses were expertly paired with remarkable wines.


Excellent results like these come from those who love what they do and have fun doing it. Chef Walker and his support team were fabulously fun!


Looks like Chef may have some new tricks up his sleeve!


Thank you Chef Nick, and Cobb Galleria Centre. You are extraordinary and provided brilliant insight into how innovative feeding the masses can be. You’ve gone light years beyond standard fare and surpassed five star. Bravo Chef.

*A very special thank you to Chef Nick Walker and staff, the staff of the Cobb Galleria Centre and the Association of Food Bloggers for an amazing evening. While the dinner was complimentary, all thoughts, opinions and drooling are completely my own.