Emica faces up to Continental corporate catering: vitello tonnato versus cheese’n'mayo sarnies

Conferences are usually surprisingly good for me: the food is so completely appallingly inedible that I live on the bananas in the fruit bowl. There’s something so depressing about leaving a tedious presentation for a lunch spread of beige foods. Cold deep fried reconstituted chicken ‘goujons’ and a variety of mayonnaise-based curling sandwiches.

I’m just back from a work trip to Maastricht in the Netherlands. Our super urbane host organised a series of excellent restaurants for us. Dinner of day one was vitello tonnato followed by slow roast lamb and a ferrero rocher flavour profiterole. Lunch on day two was at a hip theatre cafe with roast tomato soup and a great selection of rolls (cheese heavy, it’s the Netherlands…). Dinner on the second night was four courses of charcuterie, risotto, then more veal and I can’t remember what for dessert, probably because of the wine.

I think it’s only fair that I get one good batch of conference food cos I’ve had some total rubbish over the years. Thank god for packet biscuits.

So, what were your best and worst corporate catering experiences?

7 comments ↓

#1 Dr Sista Outlaw on 02.05.10 at 9:25 pm

Heh, an interesting segue for you. Ferrero Rocher has a factory in Lithgow, where I work and where I have just experienced a pretty good/bad example of conference food rubbish. Sandwiches that consisted only of animal protein and either mayonnaise, picallili or sauce. Not a vegetable or piece of fruit in sight. But there was variety! As well as the delightful sambos, there was deep fried fish, and deep fried chicken thighs.

With instant coffee.

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#3 Lisa @bakebikeblog on 03.05.10 at 8:39 am

oh my – where do I begin?! I agree with the comment re instant coffee – which too often makes an unappealing appearance!

#4 Cristy on 03.05.10 at 9:32 am

The last conference I attended served donuts and cheap coffee for breakfast. Why do Americans think that donuts are remotely appropriate breakfast fare? For the remaining meals the vego options had me eating bread with zucchini, followed by rice with zucchini, and then potatoes with… (you guessed it) zucchini.

I slipped out late at night to a nearby veg cafe and murdered a large slab of tofu.

#5 Jennie on 03.05.10 at 10:59 am

Buffet meals scare me at the best of times. For some reason they are at their absolute worse at conferences.

The beef strog seems to make a regular appearance.

I must say when sandwiches are done well and are fresh – they are winner.

#6 Liam on 03.05.10 at 12:48 pm

Labor Party fundraisers span an enormous gap from appealing to appalling, I’ve found. Like the one where the tight-arse caterers failed to feed a good hundred and fifty people with fried frankfurts, with one electric frypan and an urn for hot water. Then they washed the polystyrene cups in dishwashing liquid for later re-use—I nearly sent a letter to Sussex St citing them for bringing the Party into disrepute.
Another catering life lesson I learned c. 2002: when you’re at an academic conference’s dinner, don’t get stuck sitting next to pro-vice chancellors. They’re boring as hell and you’ll be lucky to see two glasses out of the bottle you brought.

#7 The Sit Down Affair on 17.07.10 at 4:29 am

Great post!

OMG the pictures on your post are mazing I want to run to the kirchen now thanks for the links.

I have a blog as well we also do big dinner parties.
http://thesitdownaffair.tumblr.com/

Progressive dinner party is a great inspiration.
THANKS

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