April 15, 2018


The Eye Ball’s culinary ode to the ’80s

“I was six. I remember it being a very cool thing—a big deal.” Donald Chalko, Executive Banquet Chef at The Joule, is almost misty eyed when he talks about the launch of Cool Ranch Doritos. Clearly, he was the best person to lead the charge on an ’80s-inspired menu for The Eye Ball. “When we found out the party’s theme, my chef de cuisine JV Hernandez and I started throwing ideas back and forth,” he says. “We were kids in the ’80s, so we started on the things that really got us excited and went from there.”

That means fast-food staples—sliders, fries, and chicken bites with barbeque dipping sauce—were a must. (Concepted in ’79, McDonald’s Happy Meal hit its heyday in the ’80s.) Other culinary fads that surged during the decade were reinterpreted: sushi rolls with a pickled soy gel, pepperoni pizza, chilled noodle salad in mini-Chinese takeout boxes, and orange creamsicle push-pops.

To modernize the sloppy joe, The Joule catering team created mini bomboloni (fried donut dough) with a spiced ground beef center—served on a bed of ground Funyun “soil,” naturally. “We wanted to take iconic foods from that era, but do our version. It’s not reinventing the wheel, just recalibrating it,” he says. His take on the Cool Ranch Dorito came as a Mexican-style beef tartare on a cool ranch chip. High, meets low.

For the bar, the team mixed up rum punches, Long Island iced teas, and jungle juice. Boozy orange coolers in lunch box-friendly foil pouches were a perfect nod to the sports drink craze. Lite beer was passed on neon-lit trays, while guests sipped chardonnay out of straws with cherries on them. How Chalko’s team found Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers in 2018 seems a total miracle, but for them it’s just another day.

“My team and I have a lot of fun getting creative with the custom menus we build for every event,” he says. “People come to us with different ideas and we help make them a reality. Our motto is ‘It’s all on the table’ and we stand by that.”

The Details: Let The Joule catering team get creative at your next event. They can handle anything from an intimate dinner party to you own event at The Eye. Click here to inquire