FCW: What’s another experience designed to wow?
Passanante: We created a mid-afternoon break called “Puppies and
Ice Cream.” A local animal shelter brings in a group of puppies or service dogs for attendees to pet and watch. And we serve ice cream.
I’ll admit I was bit skeptical at first. For a business meeting, it seemed
a little, well, flu;y.
Passanante: Yeah. But there’s all this research saying that dogs relax people and make them feel happy. I’ve seen it firsthand and it’s
always the same: People are completely surprised and delighted.
Instead of running out and answering emails, they’re interacting with
each other and petting the dogs and smiling. They’re getting their
energy back, and they bring that energy back into the room, refocused and ready to work.
FCW: Some of them probably want to bring the puppies into the
Passanante: [Laughing] We have to draw the line somewhere. But we
did have an adoption. One man liked a dog so much that he flew the
dog home with him when the conference was over.
FCW: Food is also an important element of the program. Chef Marc,
what does mindful eating mean to you?
Marc Ehrler: Growing up in France, I learned that food is emotion: You
can touch people with food, and move them. Ice cream, for example,
is emotional, and it’s fun—you can get creative with toppings. Or the
live salad bar, where guests cut the lettuce to make their own salad.
It’s a way of making a meal into an experience.
FCW: You’re also creating culinary experiences tailored to the area.
What’s a creative way to incorporate local foods?
Ehrler: If you go into Texas or Southern California, we feature a taco
bar where the tortillas are made fresh, in front of you. So we have
someone connected to that food, who really knows how to make it,
which takes the meal to a totally di;erent dimension.
FCW: The salad and taco bars definitely sound distinctive. What do
they contribute to the overall experience of the day?
Ehrler: We want our guests to see, touch, feel, and experience what
we’re preparing; we want them to know that it’s “real.” It’s usually
a profound experience, honestly, because you’re doing something
unique and a little unexpected, and that’s part of what Meet with
Purpose is about.
Hilton’s Frank Passanante (right) and chef Marc Ehrler (left), two of the creative minds behind Meet with Purpose
This article was created with and commissioned by Hilton. Learn