We are all so much more aware about food nowadays. We watch it on our TV's, we entertain at home much more than we ever did and we want to shop and eat responsibly, protecting our planet and pocket. Food is now a pastime in this country. To be fair, it was always as such in many of our Mediterranean counterparts. We have now caught on later than they but we are now making up for lost time.
This passion for food and creativity in food spills over into all aspects of our everyday lives. It makes us buy differently when doing our weekly grocery shop, our quick nip-out for lunch has become much more varied and interesting than it might have been ten years ago, and there is more readily available choice.
The need to impress, to be sustainable and creative in our food offer has also given us the desire for more variety, which overspills into our psyche when we are entertaining clients and what we give them to eat. So food and what you choose to give your guests when corporately entertaining says a lot about you and who you are. Without even trying you are saying we are this and believe in that.
Great, we had better get it right then!
There are also other considerations now when feeding delegates like the dreaded allergies. Either by client choice or pure dietary need, we need to offer a more varied food offer that accommodates and makes the guest feel they are not second-rate. Combined with this are faith choices and the capacity of the kitchen.
So how do we overcome the complexities of getting it right?
The most important thing to do is take the advice of the professionals. Most venues and conference centres have excellent catering services and the professionals to make sure you have what you need and guide you to ensure everyone is happy so that you have a successful event.
Menu packs will give you an insight into what the venue normally does. These will cover all aspects of meal times; breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, canapés and dinner. They will offer healthy choices and ‘treat me’ dishes. They will tell you if your choice, (which let’s face it we will all simply go for what we fancy), really suits the occasion, the guests attending and whether it might be better to go for safer options that cover most tastes rather than the few.
All chefs will offer an automatic vegetarian alternative, and it is accepted nowadays that more might have an instant preference to this, but more chefs now are offering automatic vegan choices within a menu pack and, in some cases, organisers have been known to choose a complete vegan menu for the whole event as organisers wish to be seen to be more sustainably aware within their need to hold an event.
But what if you want to go off-piste? What if the event or conference you are organising calls for a more tailor-made approach to the catering for the day?!
It is not difficult to have a bespoke menu created. Most chefs will do this for you. Most chefs will enjoy doing this as they are creating something different to their day-to-day menu offer. The key is for the chef to be as fully informed as they can be so that he hits the right mark, and creates something that will not only taste delicious and impress your guests but be deliverable and workable.
So you should give some thought to this before discussions take place.
As a busy event organiser it is difficult to remember all the do’s and don’ts all of the time and so that food professional will guide you through the process, protecting your choices and ensuring the guests have an amazing event with a meal to remember.
So whether it is a breakfast meeting, working lunch, a canapé reception or gala dinner, make sure when you are choosing your venue that they have the right approach to food and a team of catering specialists behind them that can help.
CoventryConferences have overcome this by having a catering partner, Seasoned Venues Ltd. This allows them to focus on the day-to-day of running a modern and purpose-built conference and events centre in the heart of Coventry and leaves Seasoned, the award-winning venue caterer, to focus on food, provenance and guiding the organiser to ensure all they wish is delivered within their catering choices.