Last week, we hosted our first conference withmostly plant-based menus. We’re not the pioneers of meatless events — the奥斯卡和Golden Globes已经在2020年完成了。但服务动物产品仍然是常见的会议惯例。甚至致力于可持续发展和气候的活动很少仔细看看其yabo亚博88菜单的环境影响。
所以 - 像Greenbiz一样迷人可能会对我们感到宾至如归的感觉 - 我们对奥斯卡风格的厨师和预算没有支持的大型活动的票价有点紧张。毕竟，在大多数厨师的训练中只能获得一方面的职务。但事实证明是完全可行的。以下是我们在第一次运行中学到的三节课。
Fourteen hundred people came. They ate breakfast. Went to sessions. Made small-talk. Drank coffee. Had lunch. Drank more coffee. Ran into old friends at happy hour. Met new people. All while eating primarily plant-based food and pouring mostly vegan milk into their mugs.
很多人感激这一变化。Countless attendees thanked us for setting a good example with our food policy of serving 75 percent vegan and 25 percent vegetarian meals. Most of them aren’t vegetarians or vegans, but they appreciated a chance to experiment with a different diet for a few days and take home new ideas to their families.
I enjoy meats, but it was a worthy exercise in demonstrating what can be done to have enjoyable food without it.
As Paul Overby, owner of Lee Farms in North Dakota, who spoke about his experience with regenerative agriculture at the conference, wrote to me this week: "I enjoy meats, but it was a worthy exercise in demonstrating what can be done to have enjoyable food without it."
Next to the feedback received on both ends, it’s also worth noting that many (perhaps most) people don’t care enough about the food at a conference to comment on it. It’s not why they’re attending. They’re fine with it as long as it tastes decent and doesn’t run out. So why not take advantage and serve climate-friendly meals?
Second lesson: A supportive venue is everything
We didn’t pick our venue based on its vegan cooking reputation. GreenBiz has taken place at Marriott’s Camelback Inn in Scottsdale for many years. But we were lucky enough to find their team excited to collaborate with us, which was essential for success.
Jack Strong and Gustavo Villalobos, executive chefs at the Camelback Inn, are excited to be on this new culinary learning journey. While this was the resort’s largest mostly plant-based event to date, the chefs could draw on experience from hosting a vegan lunch for over 1,000 guests last fall. They’ve also seen increasing demand for vegan food over the past few years, estimating that about 10 percent of their event guests request such meals.
Strong and Villalobos both have Native American roots, frequently eating traditional plant-based meals when growing up. This manifests in their kitchen today. "We try to pair a story with the food whenever we can. I like to tell guests about the three sisters — the Native combination of corn, bean and squash — or quinoa as our mother grain that is also a complete protein," Strong said. In his recipes, he mostly leans on traditional whole-food plant proteins.
Villalobos, on the other hand, is more interested in "new school vegan food," as he calls it, drawing on the many plant-based meat, egg and dairy substitutes available. This doesn’t always work out at first try. One of the less popular meals at our conference was a vegan chicken breast which he hadn’t used before. Next time, Villalobos will try pairing it with a different sauce or making a breaded version of it. "As with other foods, it’s about making sure you find the right flavor profile and also look at the texture and crunch of each dish," he said.
This doesn’t have to be the case forever. Chefs will polish their vegan cooking skills. Alternative protein startups will continue to bring tasty replacements to the market and prices will keep falling. With time and positive experiences, consumers’ palates will adapt to plant-based meals. Perhaps the carbon footprint of some meats will decrease enough to reintegrate them. But until we get there, event organizers will fare well with keeping some scrambled eggs at hand.