Conference food: What do you want?

Geobeads

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I am on a conference planning committee in a very pork and poultry heavy area. Menus at conferences here tend to err on the meaty side, which has been a complaint in the past that I am trying to address in my new role. I am not vegan, and I don't plan to make the conference entirely vegan, but I do want to make sure that everyone at this conference gets something yummy and filling to eat. I feel like at a lot of conferences, attendees who are vegetarians, vegans, gluten free, or have food sensitivities/allergies end up with some tiny little side to eat, and when food is included in the cost of the conference, it really stinks to have to go out for food you can actually eat and pay extra.

I'd love to know what you'd like to see as an option on a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and mid-afternoon snack, or at a heavy hors d'oeuvres social that would make you excited and let you know someone was thinking about you. Bonus points to ideas that the bacon lovers will also eat and not realize they forgot to eat meat.
Thanks in advance for helping me feed a crowd!
 
Is this being catered? If so you first step is to talk to the caterers.
Find out what they are comfortable with, what they have experience with, and their good and bad past experiences.

A lot of regular food (especially in the baked good/dessert sector) can be very easily veganized by eliminating dairy and eggs as an ingredient. Of course then you run into the issue of how will vegans know that the items are veganized. You might need a sign or maybe asterisks on the menu.

This is especially important in a breakfast buffet bar. Mostly I end up just eating the fruit. where some veganized waffles or pancakes would be most appreciated. oh and including some non diary yogurts among the diary ones would be great. Oh and maybe an build your own oatmeal bar.

lunches are the easiest and the hardest for Vegans. Make it easy by including a good salad bar. Maybe a vegan pizza or hamburger too.

Dinners have so many options. you can easily provide a few entree choices just by going Chinese.
 
Yay :starshower:This is exactly the kind of thoughtfulness I love to see!

First, think of what foods can be the same without animal products. Olive oil and/or vegan mayo seem just as desirable to those I know in place of butter. For veggies, even better to have them plain for those who not eating oils, with sauces on the side
Bread, pancakes, biscuits--all equally good made vegan
Soup of course needs no animal products, nor oils.
Signage could be the green V for vegan, nothing too obtrusive

Falafel is always a good choice--(please no cilantro :no: - tastes like soap to so many)

Gluten free! Can't forget the gluten free folks! Again, falafel is a great choice

Do you know the restaurant Bibibop? Look that up, it's a good format.

Really appreciate this, when people don't make vegan foods as some outlier everyone ends up enjoying them! They are just normal foods!
 
Is this being catered? If so you first step is to talk to the caterers.
Find out what they are comfortable with, what they have experience with, and their good and bad past experiences.

A lot of regular food (especially in the baked good/dessert sector) can be very easily veganized by eliminating dairy and eggs as an ingredient. Of course then you run into the issue of how will vegans know that the items are veganized. You might need a sign or maybe asterisks on the menu.

This is especially important in a breakfast buffet bar. Mostly I end up just eating the fruit. where some veganized waffles or pancakes would be most appreciated. oh and including some non diary yogurts among the diary ones would be great. Oh and maybe an build your own oatmeal bar.

lunches are the easiest and the hardest for Vegans. Make it easy by including a good salad bar. Maybe a vegan pizza or hamburger too.

Dinners have so many options. you can easily provide a few entree choices just by going Chinese.
Oh come on Lou! Pasta salads, baked beans, bean burgers, falafel, wraps, marinated tofu, taco bars,
Use of vegan mayo, loads of salad dressing that are vegan anyway, salad bars with proteins like edamame
A burrito or taco bar with bins of sauteed veggies, tofu, beans and salsa
I swear things could be all plant based and many wouldn't think about it until someone says "wheres the beef!" :rofl:
 
Breakfast - oats and/or granola with a selection of berries and nuts/seeds with soy or almond milk

Lunch - a salad from greens, pasta or grains with a good helping of beans

Hors d'oeuvres - sushi or spring rolls
 
in addition to all the other great ideas I wish to put in my vote for pasta dishes - it is so very easy to make amazing pastas dishes that are vegan and enjoyable to meat eaters as well - another option is an amazing tomato veggie rice & bean dish and no one will even notice there isn't any animal in it

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
 
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I'm so delighted with your question because I often feel left out by these kinds of events as a vegan! Here are what I like having for each meal:

Breakfast: Gluten free oatmeal, soymilk (or other non-dairy milk), and frozen mixed berries.
Lunch: Indian, Thai, or Chinese food
Dinner: Indian, Thai, or Chinese food
Snack suggestion: Hummus, bread, and mixed vegetable platter.
Alternate snack suggestion: grapes, apple slices, and Miyokos cheese wheels

If you want full meals for your event... Indian foods, Thai foods, and Chinese foods have a lot of great tasting vegan options like Chana Masala or Aloo Gobi, among other kinds of coconut curry dishes. Great paired with rice if you're having a full meal.

Some Indian restaurants make their curry foods with dairy products though, so if you have vegans at your conference (or those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance), you'll want to check with the restaurant about that. An easy vegan substitute for making curry creamy without the dairy is coconut milk. Many Indian restaurants and Thai restaurants offer coconut milk curry dishes.

Likewise most Chinese or Thai restaurants will have a "vegetables" or "vegetarian" section of their menu with full meals vegetarians and vegans crave that will typically have a lot of vegetable stir fries, coconut vegetable curries, and tofu dishes on it. As long as there is no dairy or chicken stock in these dishes, they certainly keep this vegan happy :).

For snack food, you could do a mixed vegetable platter (stuff like carrot sticks & celery sticks) with some good hummus. This should also satisfy the gluten-free category as well as long as your hummus is gluten free and you find a way to ensure snackers don't get bread crumbs in the hummus by accident.

If your event is more casual and less formal, heck... even Burger King has good vegan options. You could just get a bunch of "Impossible Whoppers" (they're essentially vegan if ordered without mayo). Then put out a vegan mayo substitute like "vegenaise" at the event near the burgers.
 
I am on a conference planning committee in a very pork and poultry heavy area. Menus at conferences here tend to err on the meaty side, which has been a complaint in the past that I am trying to address in my new role. I am not vegan, and I don't plan to make the conference entirely vegan, but I do want to make sure that everyone at this conference gets something yummy and filling to eat. I feel like at a lot of conferences, attendees who are vegetarians, vegans, gluten free, or have food sensitivities/allergies end up with some tiny little side to eat, and when food is included in the cost of the conference, it really stinks to have to go out for food you can actually eat and pay extra.

I'd love to know what you'd like to see as an option on a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and mid-afternoon snack, or at a heavy hors d'oeuvres social that would make you excited and let you know someone was thinking about you. Bonus points to ideas that the bacon lovers will also eat and not realize they forgot to eat meat.
Thanks in advance for helping me feed a crowd!
Hi there thanks for asking.
Lentil curry, veggie burgers, 3 bean chili over brown rice, large salad with veggies in it, tofu cheesecake, raw muesli, raw brownies...
I have been vegan for over 25 years and am still alive and kicking. I do not eat dogs, or cows, pigs or chickens either.