That 50th Birth­day Party

When plan­ning the per­fect birth­day sur­prise party, don’t for­get to check this off your list

Oi Vietnam - - Troi Oi! -

WORK­ING IN THE CATER­ING

hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, I some­times have things hap­pen that I re­ally want to share with the world… af­ter all, sto­ries are meant to be told.

Re­cently, I was asked to or­ga­nize a 50th birth­day party. The young Viet­namese girl was an Aus­tralian ex­pat’s per­sonal as­sis­tant here in Ho Chi Minh City who wanted to or­ga­nize the party as a sur­prise. She is very young, well, young in my eyes, she would have been in her early 20s (it will make sense at the end of this ar­ti­cle why I have men­tioned this).

She wanted some­thing that would suit her Aus­tralian boss. So, be­ing Aus­tralian my­self, I thought, let’s do some­thing re­ally Aus­tralian for the event. I took her around the whole­sale mar­kets in Dis­trict 5, the ones around the corner from Lan­tern Street, Cho Lon street in Dis­trict 5 as these are the ideal mar­kets to find the per­fect dec­o­ra­tions here in Ho Chi Minh City. Yes, I knew I wasn’t go­ing to find things such as Aussie flags or bunting, but we did find some won­der­ful flow­ers, nap­kins and rib­bons to dec­o­rate with in green and gold. We were even able to find a huge 50th birth­day card (not in green and gold sadly, but it did look great.).

The young girl was get­ting re­ally ex­cited, she re­ally wanted this party to be the party of a life­time for her boss. Af­ter all, it was his 50th… an im­por­tant year to mark.

I then talked to her about what food she wanted to have. We de­cided on a canapé style af­fair, as there would be a mix of not only Viet­namese and for­eign­ers, but also a mix of ‘big bosses’ all the way through to the clean­ers for the busi­ness this boss ran.

I en­cour­aged her to have a mix of foods, in­clud­ing some fab­u­lous Viet­namese op­tions and to also in­clude some tra­di­tional Aussie style foods. We in­cluded some fan­tas­tic Aus­tralian op­tions which in­cluded things like salt and pep­per fried squid rings, pick­led car­rot and beet­root with goat cheese mousse, mini lamb skew­ers with macadamia crust, seared Aus­tralian beef with horse­rad­ish cream, warm shots of pea soup with crispy ham and, of course, some mini lam­ing­tons (makes me hun­gry just think­ing about this event).

The party was to be held at their of­fice, so on the day of the event, I ar­rived early at the of­fice to help her dec­o­rate. About an hour later my team of staff and all the fab­u­lous food ar­rived. I helped the team fin­ish set­ting up and we were ready to go. The dec­o­ra­tions looked fan­tas­tic, the food looked and smelt won­der­ful, now we just need the guest of honor to ar­rive. He had been in Hanoi on busi­ness and was due to ar­rive back any minute.

You could feel the ex­cite­ment from his team. I was hov­er­ing near my team think­ing this is go­ing to be a re­ally heart-warm­ing event. This boss is ob­vi­ously loved and re­spected by his team.

Then, he ar­rived.

He looked quite shocked (more than sur­prise!). Every­one sang happy birth­day to him and then started min­gling, eat­ing the food and gen­er­ally it was a great at­mos­phere. Then, the guest of honor came over to thank me for my help or­ga­niz­ing the party.

Turns out though, although, yes—his per­sonal as­sis­tant got it right, it was his birth­day on that day—she had the year wrong.

He was only turn­ing 42… Ooops! My tip for the day: Plan­ning a won­der­ful 50th birth­day party is one thing but al­ways, al­ways check dates of birth!

Rachel Si­nanan has been in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try for over 30 years in Aus­tralia, the UK, In­done­sia and is now work­ing with KOTO Cater­ing in HCMC.

KOTO Cater­ing is a com­plete so­lu­tion for all cater­ing and food pro­duc­tion needs. This pi­o­neer so­cial ven­ture, in part­ner­ship be­tween KOTO and

Lo­tus Im­pact, hires tal­ented KOTO alumni for fur­ther pro­fes­sional and lead­er­ship devel­op­ment.

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