How to Pack a Better Picnic, According to the Plaza's Picnic Concierge

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Picnic logistics are difficult, as anyone who has trekked out to the park or beach only to discover they forgot to bring forks can tell you. In principle, it's a pretty easy way to eat a meal in the outdoors, but in practice, you can run into all kinds of snags, especially if it's a potluck picnic. All meats and no cheese, or all cheesee and no crackers. It won't ruin your day, probably, but it's still not ideal. What if you could consult someone about your picnic in advance, just to make sure you had everything in order?

At the Plaza Hotel in New York City, you can. That's thanks to Emma Pickard, the General Manager of the Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza, who also acts as the hotel's picnic concierge. Guests can choose from five differrent pre-arranged picnic options to take with them into nearby Central Park. Plaza Picnics aren't just for folks staying at the hotel—as long as you give the team an hour warning, you can grab one.

The picnics range from a simple basket of cheese, meats, fig spread, crackers, and water in a reusable tote bag for $35 to The Ultimate Plaza, which starts at $1200 for 2 people and includes lobster cocktail, caviar, and accompaniments. There's also a more formal options that include glassware, sliverware, a blanket, and a wicker basket, just in case that wasn't fancy enough for you. The picnics are available until Labor Day.

"Being at the base of Central Park, picnics are a natural fit for The Plaza," Pickard said. "A lot of planning and prep goes into a true picnic—everything from cups, cutlery and plate ware, bags, and of course, the food itself.  As true hospitality professionals, we wanted to create an enjoyable experience as a one-stop-shop for everything."

Picnics, according to Pickard, aren't about being fussy. "A good picnic is all abouot convenience and ease," Pickard said. "You want to enjoy good food, good company and a great ambiance. And of course, bite-sized & shareable is always a good motto."

"While the hotel receives more unusual requests than you can imagine, our picnic requests are more specific than they are unusual," Pickard said. "Everything from exact temperature of items, to variations of things that make our chefs chuckle."

The only thing to really avoid are dishes that will spoil or melt in the heat. Even in the shade, trying to stop ice cream from melting isn't a leisurely activity. After all, Pickard said, above everything "A picnic is meant to be a treat."

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