Post-pandemic food + beverage: How Montréal’s convention centre is adapting
Food is life. Not only is it vital for our bodies to survive, it’s also a vital part of how we gather. Nobody knows this more than event professionals, whose very purpose is to ensure meaningful collective moments.
And while many things have changed over the past year, two things remain constant: we still love to gather and we still love to eat. The Palais des congrès de Montréal (Montréal’s convention centre) understands this. They have always placed food at the heart of their offering. From a rooftop garden to an onsite chef, the Palais is constantly innovating how food and events interact with one another.
Over the past year, the Palais has taken the opportunity to further tighten their quality assurance and food safety standards by continuing to use the best available resources.
Keeping it local
The Palais has developed an innovative culinary offering that highlights local products, much of it harvested from their rooftop garden. Being one of the first urban agriculture labs, they harvest 2.5 tonnes of fruit and vegetables each year. The Palais is also home to Canada’s first urban rooftop vineyard, which was inaugurated in 2017. It’s the only convention center with such a garden!
Keeping it sustainable
The Palais is part of a variety of accreditation programs that encourage and monitor sustainable food practices. One of the notable programs is Fourchette Bleue, which encourages the discovery of succulent regional seafood products and adopting eating habits that facilitate responsible consumption. The program aspires to help restore the biodiversity of the St. Lawrence River. Another program is Ocean Wise Seafood, an ocean protection program created to educate consumers and industry businesses on issues related to fishing and aquaculture.
What will food service actually look like moving forward?
Well, it depends. For many events, organizers might opt for the convenience of bento-style boxes for breakfast or lunch. The box materials are compostable — including compostable utensils! — and offer a selection of items ranging from quick n’ simple breakfasts to deluxe meal services that can include appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Yes, all in a box!
For more formal events, plated food or assisted buffets are available. The concept of an “assisted buffet” — onsite staff that assist in maintaining sanitary protocol — is not new. Event organizers can expect serving staff that are warm and welcoming, but also keenly aware of safety measures.
Just look at some of these items from their various menus:
- Baby potatoes and chorizo, cheese curds, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, ranch sauce
- Red wine braised beef short rib
- Roasted fillet of salmon with boreal spices
- Nagano pork tenderloin medallions with Oka cheese, honey and Rouge Gorge vermouth demi-glace
- Fennel and citrus roasted cod
As we say in Montréal… Miam! (Translation: Yummy!)
Read this next: 6 Food and beverage trends to watch for in 2021