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24 Carrots Catering & Events: California’s Premier Event Company
24 Carrots Catering & Events (24 Carrots) has proudly been setting standards in the event-planning business in Orange County, Calif., since 2004. Norm and Sherri Bennett founded the business. Norm was born in Switzerland, raised in the U.S. and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He is an experienced chef and worked in some of the most well-known kitchens in the U.S. and Europe before striking out on his own.
Not long after 24 Carrots’ beginnings, Sherri’s brother, Jon Brown, also joined the team as a co-owner. At that time Sherri pursued another passion, leaving the company in the hands of her brother and husband. Lauded for his skills in the business world, Jon keeps the business operations running smoothly on the managerial end. “Norm and Sherri started this business from scratch,” says Jon. “We’re a very young company, but we’ve grown immensely.”
The new, yet thriving 24 Carrots caters weddings, high-profile movie releases, charity events and holiday celebrations for Southern California’s rich and famous. The business has expanded in recent years to include full-service events planning from table setups to organizing entertainment.
According to Jon, the company has experienced over 30- to 50-percent growth year over year since it started. The key to 24 Carrots’ success, he believes, lies with quality products and the highest level of service available in the industry. “Everything is made fresh, by hand, to cater to the customer,” Jon explains. “That’s what really stands out.”
Together, Jon and Norm have built a big name with the word traveling by mouth between celebrities, millionaires and event organizers. “We’ve been in nearly every industry magazine in the country,” laughs Jon. And it’s true, 24 Carrots has been featured in Los Angeles Confidential, Your Wedding Day, Luxe Magazine and even on MTV, KTLA, Bravo, the Travel Channel and many other networks.
The company has built a massive network between suppliers, venues and colleagues in the event-planning business. While 24 Carrots performs 80 percent of work in-house, using company equipment, some events require additional specialized staffing. “Whether its florists or photographers, we select people who are at our caliber,” explains Jon, adding that in this industry “relationships are a huge part of business.” The process is one of give-and-take for 24 Carrots. “We send business to each other,” he says of the companies and individuals he works with on a regular basis.
24 Carrots focuses on bringing fresh, local food to demanding clients. “The vendor is just as important as anyone else,” says Jon of his suppliers, which include Sysco, Santa Monica Seafood and Newport Meat Company. These are businesses that he says are “places that may cost a bit more, but go a long way with our clients.” The company’s event designers specialize in building and maintaining these relationships by communicating feedback between the company and its suppliers.
The events company has received thousands of thank-you notes, some of which are proudly displayed online for potential clients to peruse. Praise has rolled in from brides, fellow event planners and celebrities for 24 Carrots’ attention to quality, detail and event guests. Coordinators, chefs, decorators and even servers are mentioned in the friendly notes from gracious clients. 24 Carrots organizes events small to large, from company lunches all the way up to parties for the likes of Justin Bieber, Prince, President George W. Bush, Sinbad, the Jackson family, Danny DeVito, “The Real Housewives” cast members, UFC fighters and many others.
“We just did a wedding with David Tutera,” says Jon. Tutera is the host of the WE Network’s “My Fair Wedding,” a reality show where the celebrity events and entertainment organizer designs dream weddings for ordinary brides. “We’ve done fundraisers for politicians, like Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton,” adds Jon, listing more of the company’s high-profile clients.
24 Carrots is on top of its game when it comes to food and entertainment, and the company often combines the two. “We’ve been working a lot with liquid nitrogen,” says Jon. “We do a yogurt lollipop and dragon’s breath popcorn.” The dragon’s breath popcorn is an example of the growing molecular gastronomy trend in food, which roughly translates to the making of awesome, edible science projects. The popcorn is frozen using liquid nitrogen, and when popped into the mouth it lets off a cloud of vapor that exits the diner’s nose and mouth, giving the effect of a dragon blowing smoke.
The company has received several recognitions for quality, including an Achievement in Catering Excellence (ACE) Award. 24 Carrots is also a Grace Ormonde Platinum member and has been recognized in The Knot’s best of weddings for several years in a row. “We do everything over the top,” explains Jon. “We’re like the Mercedes Benz of catering.”
24 Carrots is becoming a tradition in West Coast event planning, and continues to grow as opportunities arise. “We have high expectations of our sales staff,” says Jon. “We’ll continue to look for positive growth.” The business added two new venues in early 2012 and is looking to add more. “We don’t have to force things to happen,” explains Jon, who adds that the company’s reputation continues to attract partners, vendors and high-end clients. 24 Carrots Catering & Events keeps it simple with three key components to every event: phenomenal food, outstanding service and insanely extraordinary presentation.