the eastside rooms will become the first venue in the UK to launch with a Plant-first approach. The ethos, which will include sourcing, preparation and even menu design, will be executed by Executive Head Chef Steve Unwin and reflect the growing trend of event organisers looking to offer more ethical menu options to an increasingly environmentally aware delegate.
The venue will have a genuine blend of plant-based dishes alongside sustainably and ethically sourced meat and fish dishes. Food service has also been designed to ensure a more inclusive eating environment for delegates.
“There is a genuine movement towards plant-first eating amongst both event organisers and their delegates. As more and more people understand the issues around food, food sourcing and the environment, they are asking questions of the venues and businesses where they eat; as an ethically strong business, this is something we are looking to take a lead on,” comments Steve.
“Plant-first isn’t about banning meat and fish, it’s about offering plant-first options as viable dishes in their own right” continues Steve. “It’s also about inclusivity; events are places where people come to meet and form relationships, and food is a great way to do this. We don’t want to isolate a growing proportion of our delegation because of the food choices they have chosen to make, and we certainly don’t want them to have a lesser taste experience either.
On top of the plant-first approach, the eastside rooms will also launch with a ‘culturally nutritious’ blend of dishes, drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of Birmingham, the city’s Eastside, and the emerging Knowledge Quarter. The city is well known for its Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern influences, as well as the traditional Brummie culture, and the venue has looked to integrate as many of these community values into the creation of the eastside rooms, including its menus.
“This is also part of the wider ethics of the venue and relates to what we’re doing with our plant-based menus,” continues Steve. “Throughout the development of the venue we have tried to draw on the wide diversity of cultures that can be found in Birmingham, and put them on the walls, in the rooms and now on the menus.”
“We’re looking at Birmingham’s ‘signature dishes’ along with brand icons such as Cadbury Chocolate and serving them all up in a variety of different styles, from street-food to concession or even fine dining. The authenticity of the dishes we deliver will be important to us. Many of our guests will be coming from outside of the UK and we want them to get a genuine taste of the city as part of their event experience.”
“It is important to recognise that this all forms part of a wider philosophy that the eastside rooms will endeavour to take the lead in. We will be looking to operate with the maximum social responsibility in the areas of water usage, energy and carbon management along with food wastage and the circular economy. We will be having regular dialogue with our supply chain over the same such issues and following with community engagement and communication” concludes Steve.