The Calgary Stampede created ranahans in 2001 as its exclusive members-only dining club for premium guests at the July events. Celebrating its 20th anniversary year in 2021 after the unfortunate closure due to Covid-19 in 2020 became a daunting task, since the entire concept of the venue was based on action stations and self-service, now disallowed by local health authorities. Since all food is included in the ticket price, it was imperative the value for clients and their guests was maintained, despite the restrictions. The culinary team in cooperation with the front-of-house teams re-imagined the service style into a fully-plated experience despite a zero-dollar budget available for any physical enhancements, equipment or additional staff.
The dining experience began with a warm cheese bun and an antipasto taster. A single-serving starter plate with items from the seafood bar and a feature salad were then served. Guests then chose from a wide variety of grill, carvery and side dishes. The server had the choices plated from the action stations in-venue and delivered at request. Guests could order as many times as they wished to ensure they took full advantage of the culinary experience. Finally, guests chose dessert and then were guided to the outdoor seat deck for the performance with full in-seat beverage service. At intermission, they enjoyed dessert from their table indoors and returned to the outdoor seat deck for the remainder of the show when the final treat - a trio of locally-made Turkish delights - was presented.
Each year in ranahans, our team of sommeliers selects 10 remarkable wines to be represented each day through our exclusive Winemaker Series. While normally the wine executives would be on-hand to share their wine, expertise and enthusiasm with the guests, travel restrictions in 2021 precluded their physical presence so we again adapted and captured these tasting notes and special messages in virtual videos from celebrity winemakers. Guests were invited to view the videos through the menu QR code (see menu included).
Clients in ranahans were overwhelmingly thrilled with the new experiences and food and labour costs were actually reduced from previous years - an unexpected and fortunate serendipity of the pandemic.