FLOSS? That's right, choose Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Sustainable food for your events and meetings. According to Chef Steven Ward, DoubleTree by Hilton Portland, during his recent presentation at the GMIC Sustainable Events Conference, this easy-to-remember acronym will help you select a fabulous, healthy menu for your guests.
Chef Ward recommends the event planner work directly with the chef on menu decisions as they can best assess the regional supply and demand, availability of products and valued partnerships with local suppliers. He has been successful in reducing costs for FLOSS food by purchasing seasonal products, using large volume in price negotiation with small farms, and reducing the need for packaging.
As a valuable take-away, Chef Ward offered a "Meeting Planner Checklist" which he offered to share:
- Use the farm-to-table philosophy. Showcase flavors in the venue's backyard using local suppliers
- Highlight the locations, farmers and recipes of the food
- Request fair trade products that help producers make better trading conditions, e.g. coffee and chocolate
- Serve food in bulk whenever possible
- Don't preset water, salad or desserts
- Be creative with centerpieces. Make sure they are reusable and the customer takes them home
- Offer water stations instead of individual bottled water
- Donate excess food to shelters and food banks
- Look for composting both of kitchen waste and table scraps
My thanks to Chef Steven Ward for being an early adopter and unwavering champion. I think he would be the first to admit, it wasn't always easy. Today, his culinary creations are incredible and he has mastered the art of sustainable menus for 50 or 500 because he always remembers to FLOSS.