Historically, the meeting and events industry has had arough ride in terms of reputation when it comes to its F&B offering, and for good reason. I’ve seen delegates served dishes that wouldn’t look out of place in an old-school dinner hall. In an age where celebrity chefs are idolised and Masterchef is considered prime-time TV, we all expect a little more from our M&E menu. As a nation, we eat out more than ever before, are willing to pay a premium for a plate of pasta – so why should our food standards drop during working hours?
At De Vere Venues, we serve over 4,000 dishes every day, and our delegates know their crudités from their canapés. Therefore it’s vital the team stay abreast of the latest culinary trends tickling the nation’s taste buds. So what’s currently hot on the meetings menu?
Fact – seasonal food is fresher, tastier and far more nutritious than food that has travelled thousands of miles to our dinner table, in addition to being more cost effective and kinder to the environment by cutting down on harmful carbon emissions. During the summer, pack your dishes full of ingredients like strawberries, asparagus and spring onions, and as the nights draw in, swap for blackberries and beetroot – perfect comfort food for colder days.
With worrying frequency, working with local suppliers doesn’t necessarily equate to eating truly local produce. Traceability is front of mind when it comes to the produce we put on our delegates’ plate and we have a set of stringent standards in place to ensure we can trace all of our produce back to source. Currently, around 80 per cent of all ingredients we use are of British origin and we ensure that we use accredited foods, like Red Tractor approved meats and Skipper’s Catch assured fish.
Food for Thought?
Delegates demand a different dining experience to hotel or restaurant diners, favouring Super-Foods which benefit mind, body, and brain. Serve food-fuels packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and nutrients – we love using quinoa, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts in super-powered salads, as well as providing energy boosting snacks that delegates can nibble on between meetings, like granola bars, blueberries and even fresh popcorn.
Word on the Street
Delegates are becoming increasingly food savvy – it’s vital that we provide them with the latest taste trends. De Vere Venues was an early adopter of integrating street-style foods on the menu, delivering dishes that wouldn’t taste out of place in the hustle and bustle of the world’s biggest cities. No longer associated with a greasy burger or doner kebabs, we can whip up everything from a box of Katsu noodles, through to Peruvian cuisine. We recently held a conference featuring a world kitchen street market at Wokefield Park, celebrating the best of global cuisine.
A Little Bit of What You Fancy
Healthy eating should always remain top of the agenda when we’re deciding what we pile on our plate, but that doesn’t mean from time to time, we can’t all indulge in a little bit of what we fancy – which is why I’m delighted to see a rise in gourmet junk food, like mini brioche burgers anddinky chilli-dogs making a culinary comeback, thanks to the rise in popularity of high end fast-food joints like Meat Liquor and Byron Burger. These type of dishes work really well for evening events, served with a chilled glass of bubbly at the end of the working day.