Written by: Ashley Falardeau-Communications & Events Coordinator-TK Events Inc
One cannot think well…if one has not dined well – Virginia Woolf
Move over, stage effects and big ticket entertainers; event food service is taking its turn in the limelight.
Whether planning a small meeting for 50 people, or a multi-day conference for hundreds, food service plays an important role in the planning of an event. More and more, food service is becoming not only an integral part, but is taking a spot in the forefront of the entertainment line-up.
According to the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC), there are some key food trends planners should take note of in 2015. Add some flair to your agenda with the following considerations:
Eat local; network, network, network; in with flavour, out with fat; and offer an event finale.
Eating local has made its way into foodie trends and onto the menus of top chefs. Using local ingredients not only ensures freshness and full flavour to your dishes, but also helps reduce carbon footprints. Not to mention, you also get to support local farmers. Eating local is a great way to incorporate the essence of the location/city in which your event is taking place. Out on one of the coasts? Opt for fresh seafood as your protein option rather than heavier meat dishes. Barbeque should definitely be on the menu during summer months while incorporating fresh produce from the region.
Network over breaks
Networking is a natural occurrence at any event, whether there is time designated for it, or it simply happens organically as people pass in the hall between breakout sessions. Why not embrace this, and make it a focus of your reception or scheduled break. You want attendees to be able to mix, mingle, and maneuver a beverage, plate of food, and hand shaking all at once. Imagine trying to coordinate a knife and fork on top of all that! Small bites with big flavour are key in networking situations, and if you do it right, you can bypass the plate entirely. Bite-sized servings on toothpicks or appetizer spoons are topping the list of appetizer options. This keeps hands clean, and your attendees’ stomachs happy.
Healthy doesn’t need to mean boring
While healthy eating has been top of mind for quite some time now, unfortunately too many people associate ‘healthy’ with ‘boring’ or ‘unflavourful’. It’s time to have some fun with your wellness menus. Stay away from creamy or fried foods, and keep desserts to a minimum. Instead, opt for delicious grilled proteins. This method keeps all the flavour where it belongs – inside the food! Choose mini dessert options supplemented with seasonal fresh fruit. These lighter options will also prevent a mid-afternoon slump, keeping your attendees alert and focused on your content.
Make the menu your entertainment
The Chef’s Table brings a high end dining experience to your guests. Incorporate the chefs as they lead the audience through the evening’s menu. It’s interactive and entertaining; all centered around the food.
Choose a Venue that tells a story
Finally, send your attendees off with something they’ll remember for a long time. Why have a traditional sit-down gala dinner when you can entertain your attendees with fun, flair, and of course, food! Pick an amazing venue that tells a story all on its own. Then, tailor your event around what the venue has to offer. Whether it’s a suite at the ballpark with traditional ballpark food or a buyout of a brewery with food station and beer pairings, the sky’s the limit when it comes to making lasting memories.
Food brings people together. And while we may take it for granted, it’s there to sustain us, to nourish us, and to please our taste buds. When planning your next event, keep food in the forefront of your planning process and watch how your attendees respond.