Park City local Melissa Gray, one of the co-founders of BASH Event Solutions, takes a moment in the bustling prep kitchen at Chez Betty the night before
Park City local Melissa Gray, one of the co-founders of BASH Event Solutions, takes a moment in the bustling prep kitchen at Chez Betty the night before Sundance opens. Photo courtesy of Renee Huang.
Melissa Gray and Meagan Nash first met at the University of Utah years ago. Now they are the co-owners of BASH Creative Event Solutions, a Park City-based event planning, staffing and catering company that will be working one of the biggest parties the Sundance Film Festival has to offer this year: the YouTube Experience, brought to Park City by Google.

BASH was hired by a production company it has developed a relationship with over the last four years. With what Gray calls an "amazing" team of personal chefs from different acclaimed restaurants throughout town, they will serve appetizers and craft cocktails at the event, which runs all 10 days of the festival.

"Some of [the chefs] are from the St. Regis, Talisker on Main, the owner of a Peruvian restaurant in Salt Lake City who was previously a pastry chef, and we've pulled some people from Deer Valley," Gray said. "We've been in the food and beverage business in Park City for so long that we know a lot of great people in the industry, and it's really convenient for us to round up the best team possible."

Nash said one unique aspect of the event is that they will be handing out "A Taste of Sundance" to attendees each night, which is a recipe for an appetizer or craft cocktail.

"We're going to feature a craft cocktail every day, so we're working with some mixologists," Nash said. "We'll be offering recipes throughout the week with social media as well, so that should be really fun."

Gray said their goal every year is to try and pull as many local products as possible for their event. This year, they will be using a local coffee company, among others. She said it is important to them to support local artisans.

The products they use will be made into appetizers like truffled risotto parmesan cups, Yellowtail tuna on citrus rice crackers, buffalo Carpaccio on polenta cakes and frittata bites for their brunch events. "The people that attend these events love food, so it's important to have that high level and be able to offer the best," Nash said.

Creating the client's vision for the event is what Gray said they try to accomplish, and a high-end client means high-quality food and beverages. However, they do not only work large Sundance events. Gray said they plan events like weddings and private parties throughout the year. Sundance remains the busiest time of the year for them, though.

"It is surreal, just sort of a whirlwind," Nash said. "Your adrenaline gets going, but you get it done. Even if it seems like it's going to be impossible, given our relationships with the food industry in town, we get it done and everything ends up working out."

Working with a client to make an event successful is not only a creative process but a process through which they teach them city rules and regulations, including Utah liquor laws, Gray said. That is why she and Nash work together as a team to make the 10 days of Sundance as easy as possible for their clients.

"We know we can provide that level of catering and that gourmet aspect to their events," Gray said. "We have amazing staff that come in every year from out of town sometimes and want to work with us all through Sundance. They're happy to work, and it's exciting."