Catching up with Legendary Events’ new executive chef Diana Watkins

BY: Lia Picard

When it comes to preparing meals for Buckhead’s biggest soirees, Legendary Events lives up to its name. The company, which has planned parties for everyone from Jane Fonda to Tyler Perry, recently appointed Diana Watkins as its executive chef, but having been with Legendary Events for nine years already, she was more than ready to tackle her expanded responsibilities.

Legendary Events’ executive chef Diana Watkins likens her role to that of an orchestra conductor.

What’s your favorite aspect of overseeing the food for all of these big-time events?

There are so many elements that have to come together; it’s like being the conductor of an orchestra. After more than 20 years, our clients have come to expect innovative, high quality dishes, so I love the challenge we have in continuing to surpass their expectations, and it really does take a village.

Tell us what it was like to be involved with the NFL owner dinner for the Super Bowl earlier this year.

Wow! It was an honor to be trusted to [oversee the menu for a meal executed by a group of such] talented Atlanta-based chefs. It was about a six-month process from beginning to end, and for our team, it was exciting to be a part of an event that meant so much to the city.

What has been the most exciting part of transitioning into your new role?

I was promoted to the position, so I already had the full support of our founder and CEO, Tony Conway, and I knew the Legendary Events team really well. This is my ninth year, so I’ve really grown with the company. The most exciting part of each day is meeting with my team and working through all the new ideas that help keep our clients excited about working with us over and over again.

What can we expect to see from you and Legendary Events going forward?

We’ll continue finding new ways to present classic Southern favorites as well as incorporating more international flavors, especially Asian and Latin dishes, into our menu choices. Also keep an eye on our food presentations; we’ve been having fun with molecular aspects as well as some other modern, edgy ideas I’m excited about. We’ve always done excellent food, but we’re ready to kick it up a notch and take it to the next level.