Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 2013

Best Food and Beverage

By the Editors of Convene

MINNEAPOLIS CONVENTION CENTER

“Kelber Catering is so creative and the food is always fantastic,” said Kathleen Hedlund, director of global accounts with HelmsBriscoe’s Presidents Club, which has held several of its client and internal events at the Minneapolis Convention Center  (MCC), where the family-owned company is the exclusive caterer. Kelber is also committed to practices that are an important part of MCC’s sustainability program — donating unused food to local charities and using locally sourced food when possible with organic menu options for groups. “I have clients who I help with their meetings all over the world,” Hedlund said. “Kelber is clearly the best!”

COLORADO CONVENTION CENTER

At the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), the yummy food and beverage also reflects a commitment to the environment and the local community. “I have always felt Denver was ahead of its time in environmental issues,” said Debbie Richardt, CMP, who held her annual meeting at CCC in 2011 when she worked for the American Thoracic Society. “This is [an] area that makes them stand out and be recognized by meeting planners that take these issues seriously.”

CCC’s hospitality partner Centerplate started the Blue Bear Farm, a 5,000-square-foot urban farm that supplies the center’s kitchen with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey. “They are setting a good example of providing healthy foods and helping the environment at the same time,” Richardt said, “and at no additional cost to the meeting planner.”

FOUR SEASONS RESORT CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

For an Amway Japan group that held an incentive program for 300 people in 2012, the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai — which specializes in themed events for groups — rolled out an impressive gala dinner. The theme was “Full Moon Party: Gazing Up at the Sky,” and guests enjoyed a five-course, Italian-fusion dinner, including an exclusive dessert created for the group called “Otsukimi Fantasy” — a reference to a Japanese festival that honors the autumn moon.

“The chef made an Oriental mango dessert with rice cake and a chocolate rabbit on the plate,” said Takami Yoshida, who is with Amway Japan’s company events group. “All factors combined and made a fantastic night!”

HYATT REGENCY JACKSONVILLE RIVERFRONT, FLORIDA

When Jennifer Porro, program coordinator with the Florida Chiropractic Association, was looking to spice up a reception during the annual Spring Convention and Expo at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, she was alerted by the staff that the price for a few carving stations would be the same as what the group was spending on cheese and crudités displays.

 “This was very important to me, as our reception was fading in attendance over the past few years,” she said. The hotel provided some additional seating along with the carving stations, exhibitors were pleased, and the attendees appreciated the upgraded reception option, which drew the largest group in the event’s history, according to Porro.

METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s (MTCC) Local Food and Beverage Program, launched in 2011, helps serve more than one million attendees each year locally sourced seasonal fruits and vegetables, pastured meats, artisanal cheeses, and wines.
“The MTCC [has] a fantastic F&B team and is always willing to work with planners on unique menus within any budget,” said Jacqui Sullivan, CMP, association manager with Absolute Conferences & Events. Sullivan held a large international event at MTCC for several years, along with more recent PCMA Canada East Chapter events. “[They] dazzled us with high-end food and beverage!” she said.

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