Local F&B Experiences Give Attendees Feel for Destinations


local F&B experiences

Indra Rani opens her home, called Plantation Table, in Binjai Park, Singapore, as part of the NOSHtrekker dining experiences. (NOSHtrekker)

Authors: Gina Sin and Cristi Kempf

From foraging for truffles in an Oregon vineyard to dining on a fragrant biryani in a Singaporean family’s home, hyper-local F&B experiences provide opportunities for attendees to step out of the convention center and dig into a destination.

Planners are finding new ways to accommodate those attendees who want to see — and taste — the “real” Pittsburgh or Portland (with vineyard-traipsing Big Foody PDX) or Perth.

People are “looking for location-true, authentic, off-the-beaten-path, things-I’ve-never-seen-before places,” Kate Fairweather, an innovation consultant for Fahrenheit 212, said during a session at PCMA Convening Leaders 2019. Fahrenheit 212, a New York City–based global consultancy firm, created “The Future of Meetings and Events” report for Marriott and the PCMA Foundation, which singled out “a sense of place” as one of five major, future-oriented consumer trends and market forces that will transform meetings and events.

local f&b experience

Best friends Giovanna and Cristina, in Rome, treat guests to a “Roman Dinner Party in a Stylish Apartment” as part of Eatwith’s program. (Courtesy Eatwith)

The report is not the only piece of research pointing to the importance of “only-in-this-destination” experiences. The Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) 2019 Trends Study lists “transformational experiences” as one of 10 key trends in incentive travel. And that study pointed to the Global Wellness Summit’s 2018 Global Wellness Trends Report,  which heralded “A New Era of Transformative Travel,” describing it as “travel that challenges people on a deeply personal level.”

So what’s out there to help planners find ways to satisfy their experience-hungry attendees? One example from IRF is NOSHtrekker’s Plantation Table, where a local host invites guests into her home and curates a history-rich menu. In Singapore, (NOSHtrekker is also in Australia and Brunei) author and environmentalist Indra Rani creates a meal that, the NOSHtrekker website says, “takes guests back to the days of the Empire where rail was king and steam trains still thundered through the muggy plantations of rubber and palm.” (See photo gallery below.)

Elsewhere, Eatwith offers meeting planners a way to organize in-home dining for event attendees in more than 150 cities, like the “Roman Dinner Party in a Stylish Apartment,” for up to 10 people. (See more dinners in photo gallery below.)

And the ChefsFeed app “provides dining and drinking guides, inspiration, and unique experiences direct from experts,” aka chefs — like Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Foods of Fort Worth, who recommends visitors to her city try The Diablo, a “super spicy” burger at “quintessential” Fort Worth spot Fred’s Texas Café. ChefsFeed can also tip planners to dining “experiences” in a particular destination, like Copenhagen or Seattle.

“The most memorable events,” the Marriott/PCMA study says, “celebrate the local surroundings, enriching visitors, exposing them to the local culture, and connecting them with the community to increase engagement.”

More Local F&B Experiences

Cristi Kempf is executive editor of Convene.

Dishes Served Across the Globe through Eatwith

local F&B experiences

The menu for Eatwith's Roman Dinner Party in a Stylish Apartment includes this figs and prosciutto appetizer. (Courtesy Eatwith)

local f&b experience

Keren and Yael, who call themselves Habanot (the girls in English), live and Tel Aviv, Israel. They open their home to Eatwith guests, providing the "10 steps to happiness" dinner and wine feast. (Courtesy Eatwith)

local f&b experience

Viridiana, in Mexico City, offers three different Eatwith food experiences, including "Mexico Contemporary." (Courtesy Eatwith)

local f&b experience

In Tokyo, you can learn how to make the Japanese cuisine "washoku" from Eatwith host Tomok. (Courtesy Eatwith)

local f&b experience

Eatwith host Laura, based in New York, provides guests with "a nouveau Mediterranean feast." (Courtesy Eatwith)

Dishes from NOSHtrekker’s Plantation Table

local F&B experiences

Plantation Table's Kerabu Jantung Pisang, or Banana Blossom, Prawn, and Coconut Salad.

local F&B experiences

Indra Rani serves canapes served during the Sundowners meal.

local F&B experiences

Indra Rani's Jaffna cuisine is filled with spices like these.

local F&B experiences

Cakes served at Plantation Table

local F&B experiences

Plantation Table's signature drink is the Gin & Tonic with Kaffir Lime and-Ginger Flower (left), but guests can get a Whisky Stenga, too.