Plant-Based Dishes for Events

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Toasted quinoa lettuce cups at Kenneland (Credit: Sarah Jane Sanders)

Hotels are making it easy for meeting planners to offer plant-based dishes. What used to be an occasional request is now 10 percent or more of all meals served.

Plant-based menus are here to stay, both for vegans and those just wanting to cut down on fat. Chef Vincent Cani of the Hilton Orlando reports a tripling of requests for alternate meals, lead by plant-based dishes: “Our overall percentage of alternate meals due to dietary restriction and/or allergens during event functions used to be somewhere around 3 to 5 percent of the total guarantee. Over the past 9 years, we have seen this number rise to somewhere around 10 to 15 percent.”

He sees plant-based eating as a permanent, societal change. “I believe that this is more than a trend, this is a lifestyle. People want to know where their food is coming from. Local footprints, as well are organics, have created an awareness of how food processing has affected us in many ways, in a sense reverting our culture back to its localized agricultural roots, and a sense of ‘gathering.’ ”

Plant-based Dishes

Here are examples delicious plant-based dishes from 8 venues that can be used as swaps and included in group banquet orders:

Pumpkin Tacos

Instead of beef tacos: pumpkin tacos with cumin-spiced pumpkin topped with tomatoes, onions and cilantro
Source: Executive Sous Chef Vincent Cani, Hilton Orlando

Spinach Artichoke Ravioli

Instead of lobster pappardelle pasta with poached lobster meat: spinach artichoke ravioli made with spinach ravioli, sun-dried tomato, artichoke, charred onion, arugula, white cheddar cream and kalamata tapenade
Source: Chef Phil Powers, The Bristol Hotel

Heme Slider

Instead of a traditional beef burger patty: a heme slider, which mimics the consistency, texture and flavor of a patty combined with miso and lentils with a carrot-based ketchup
Source: Executive Chef Criss Menassa, Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village

Vegan Paella

Instead of Spanish paella with seafood, sausage, chicken and pork: vegan paella with rice, artichoke, heart of palm, asparagus, peas, carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin
Source: Executive Chef Victor Teran, Hilton Mexico City Reforma

Grilled Sou-Vide Eggplant Medallion

Instead of grilled beef tenderloin medallion: grilled sous-vide eggplant medallion, almonds ricotta with sweet paprika, sautéed bottom mushroom and orange reduction
Source: Executive Chef Rodrigo Mezadri, Hilton São Paulo Morumbi

Hearts of Palm Ceviche

Instead of shrimp ceviche: hearts of palm with summer fruits, veggies and edible flowers
Source: Executive Chef Matthew Brennan, The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club

Cauliflower Truffle Cappuccino

Instead of a creamy truffle-based risotto: plant-based cauliflower cappuccino, which features black truffle.
Source: Executive Chef Bruno Carvalho, Zemi Beach House

Toasted Quinoa Lettuce Cups

Instead of Keeneland cured duck ham with chicory, smoked salt, and a blackberry chardonnay gastrique: toasted quinoa lettuce cups with hot house cucumber, marcona almond and mustard soy vinaigrette.
Source: Executive Chef Marc Therrien, Keeneland

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.