The Seasoned hotseat: Kate Stevenson
With over a decade of experience working in the events industry, I have been involved in managing a diverse range of events from trade shows & exhibitions, corporate galas, and weddings, through to popular music festivals and transforming major public attractions into premier function venues after hours.
Having recently relocated from Australia, the move to London was prompted by a drive to become further immersed into the global events market and experience working in the capital’s most unique venues.
What don’t people know about you
I’ve run a half marathon (It justified eating a lot more food…!)
Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver? (Who’s your favourite and why?)
That’s a tough one – from the perspective of making food simple, flavoursome and fun, and engaging people to be passionate about cooking and feeling comfortable in their kitchen creating their own meals, I would have to say Jamie Oliver.
What do you like most about working in events?
I love that it’s a dynamic and fast paced industry that delivers memorable experiences. Our clients and guests attend events to have a good time so I have great satisfaction in selling happy occasions. In particular, I enjoy having the opportunity to be creative in cultivating unique experiences and events that have the ‘wow’ factor or an element of surprise as guests walk in.
Most memorable event?
When I worked at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, we created an underwater wedding. The bride and groom were avid divers and their dream was to get married underwater. Thankfully, I worked with a team of colleagues who were equally excited about bringing the craziest ideas to life! We installed a special 2-way dive communications system which consisted of a microphone and speaker that could be embedded into the dive masks, which were connected to a microphone and speakers in the main room, so that the bride and groom could speak with their celebrant and guests.
The guests sat in the amphitheatre waiting for the bride and groom to enter the room, looking into the 2.2 million litre Oceanarium as massive sharks and stingrays, and hundreds of colourful fish were swimming around. It was truly rewarding to see the looks of surprise on their faces as they saw the groom swimming amongst the sea creatures, followed shortly after by his bride. The bride had a customised white outfit over her wetsuit along with a veil. She even had a bouquet of fake flowers. We also created special ‘rings’ that the couple exchanged underwater. The bridal party held up signs against the tank so they could read their vows underwater. After the ceremony, we had hair and makeup artists ready and the bride changed into her wedding gown and the groom changed into his suit, before they were presented to their joyous guests in the dining room.
Most adventurous experiences?
Skydiving in Queenstown NZ and bungee jumping out of a cable car in the Swiss Alps. I also ate a tarantula in Cambodia.
If you could travel anywhere what would be your dream destination?
Susan Sontang’s famous quote, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list” definitely applies. Having recently relocated to London from Australia, I’m very excited to explore more of the UK and make the most of the close proximity to go on lots of mini European escapades. Top of the list would be Iceland and visiting Christmas markets in Germany. Just having a cold Christmas is going to be quite an experience!
What’s one of your most memorable food experiences?
I was travelling around Vietnam with a friend and we stopped to buy some coconut cookies from a lady along one of the streets in Hanoi. We started chatting to her and she invited us to her house the next day for a coffee. Hoping that we were in for an ‘authentic local experience’ and not entering a murder mystery, we decided to take a little gift and join her for coffee. It was so amazing to be invited into someone’s home and learn stories of their culture and way of life. After chatting for a while, her friend came over to visit and was so excited to ‘meet foreigners’ that she invited us to come over for a cooking class. She made a phone call to someone to go and buy ingredients from the market and then we jumped on the back of the mopeds and went to her home for a private cooking class. She showed us how to prepare several different dishes and the food was delicious. It was such an incredible experience and it was definitely the highlight of our trip!