The right atmosphere makes contents and entertainment an experience to remember. The culinary offer contributes to the success of an event. Those who offer dishes and their appearance in a sustainable way, can convince their guests and surprise them in a positive way.
- Balance: seasonal-regional and organic
- Palm leaves are the new silverware
- Sustainable event cuisine: interview with Kresmir Kozina, Herkenrather Hof
- Achieving new forms of indulgence by means of sustainability
- Those who throw things away, haven’t planned correctly
Organic is great but it’s not everything
Kohlrabi soup with regional salami or freshly caught fish from a local trout farm with endive-potato salad … That is an example of creations with condiments from the region Bergisches Land in North Rhine-Westphalia. From the Swabian Mountains to the Kiel Fjord – there exist typical regional dishes everywhere that should naturally be prepared with regional products.
- Credible authenticity
- Ecologically valuable due to short distances
- Fresh products guaranteed
Those who combine venue and regional suppliers do a lot for the environment and health.
By the way: Even exotic cuisine can be cooked with regional basic products. After all, the Peking duck doesn’t have to fly in all the way from China. And cross-over cuisine is great, too. It combines elements of different cooking traditions and creates novel sensations of taste. Thus, traditionalists and adventurous gourmets can both be satisfied.
And what about organic food? That can be arranged as well. There’s a number of caterers that have specialised in organic cuisine. The EU seal for organic products is an important indicator here. Also important: Do salad, schnitzel and cheese come from the region or are they transported across state lines? Because then the term “organic” gets an aftertaste.
Fairtrade can be an option. This seal unites products from far-away countries that adhere to a fair trade. It is always good to have a look at these products: One might get some new ideas.
Buffet, banquet or just a snack: Planning truly sustainably at first requires a little effort – one moves off the beaten track. A good event agency has experience in this area and is able to evaluate, depending on the event: Is regional a good choice or should it be organic?
By the way, here’s a tip that is easy to implement: Serve tap water. No other food in Germany is controlled more thoroughly than water.
Reusable products are not always the best choice
Porcelain, glasses and metal cutlery: Many events can be equipped easily and appealingly in this way. High-performance dishwashers wait in the service areas. Immaculately clean, they send everything back to the kitchen in an instant.
“Pacovis Food Packaging” is a viable alternative. The brand offers a wide range of disposable products for catering. The difference to conventional products is either invisible or highlighted intentionally. E.g. salad bowls of PLA (Polylactic Acid) are just as robust, transparent and elegant as those made of PE (polyethylene). The only difference is that PLA consists of fermented plant starch and is correspondingly 100% degradable.
Plates and bowls from pressed palm leaves look good, don’t soak through and are completely degradable. Especially at events in the open countryside these products are without match. They are hygienic and come in reasonably sized packages all the while serving indulgence and conscience.
An example in ecology – licensing of tableware packaging. Those who attend a staff party and are handed a currywurst in a palm leaf bowl would never suspect that it has already absolved an elaborate judicial path. Since 2019, the German Packaging Act has been in effect. In the process, the Central Packaging Registry was created. Among other things, it monitors the adherence to the recycling quota. That also concerns the handling of so-called service packaging like the aforementioned palm leaf bowl. Whoever fills it, e.g. EVENTAGENTUR artimage in the case of the staff party, has to pay license fees. Due to our license agreement with Pacovis, the manufacturer of the palm leaf bowls, we hand this responsibility back so that we don’t have to enter agreements with a dual system ourselves.
What we want to say: In respect to every small detail we make sure that ecological regulations are met. Often by thinking for ourselves, and always by adhering to legal provisions.
Sustainability: a restaurant proprietor on indulgence and event
Catering and sustainability: What does a restaurant proprietor have to say about that? We meet with Kresmir Kozina at the restaurant Herkenrather Hof. Since 1999, the host has transformed a historic facility in the Leverkusen district of Schlebusch into a centre of joie de vivre. Kozina is happy with his rhubarb spritzer that has a refreshing and fruity taste. “Healthy, agreeable drinks have become the favourites of our guests”, says the restaurant owner. Coke or lemonade? The cigarette of soft drinks. And that is just the topic: catering and sustainability.
EVENTAGENTUR artimage: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. We are not only neighbours in the regular sense – after all, our agency is just a short walk from the Herkenrather Hof away – but also in respect to content.
Kresmir Kozina: That’s correct. Great to have you here and talk a little about modern event gastronomy. The Herkenrather Hof is subdivided into the classical restaurant business and the event business. The latter is designed for private celebrations as well as corporate events. In addition, there are events that we host ourselves. Carnival, the celebration of 01 May, Oktoberfest, Earth Day. We have designed it this way on purpose. The restaurant alone wouldn’t be profitable. The fluctuation among guests is too strong. Events on the other hand are predictable.
That is what we always say! Event is a predictable success. For our customers, that is. Many customers approach us and want to celebrate an anniversary. Then, we ask: How is it that you have been on the market so long and so successfully? Then we dive into the true reasons for the celebration.
That is an interesting approach. We experience the same thing during the first briefings. There are guests that want to tell a story with their celebration. Our food underlines that.
Yes, and your rooms are so flexible that they can be adapted thematically. Now, let’s talk about sustainability. How do you achieve that?
We have developed that bit by bit as well. The idea to order organic meat in the required quantities didn’t agree with us. We can’t imagine that the market could provide such quantities of organic meat. That is why we chose a different approach that leads us directly to the local producers. We purchase our meat from regional farmers. One of our employees, a butcher, is on-site for the slaughter. He prepares the pieces of meat for our restaurant.
The way from the farmer to the plate couldn’t be shorter.
Correct. And we see yet another aspect: Here at the Herkenrather Hof, we serve 1,000 dishes per week on average. The farmer can definitely calculate with these quantities, be it meat or vegetables. That provides safety.
That is a great impulse.
Thanks. Yes, we are proud of that and put it on the menu. The guest sees that products come from the region. The slightly higher price is accepted without discussion.
Isn’t that crazy? That products with long transport routes are actually cheaper?
Do you really want me to comment on that?
Maybe not … Let’s just concentrate on the positive fact that your cuisine is very well-accepted.
The guest feels the connection and the authenticity. In the restaurant and of course at the event. Hosts that celebrate here at the Herkenrather Hof benefit drastically from this sustainability.
It is March, Earth Day is coming up. And you will partake?
Correct. We see it as a small symbol that describes our attitude. Otherwise we take small steps. Plastic straws are banned from our restaurant. We serve the cocktail with a noodle. It makes no difference when it comes to taste and indulgence.
But a great difference for the environment. Thank you for the interview and the inspiration, dear Kresmir.
New indulgence, inspired by sustainability
Sustainability in catering: There’s more to that than ecological aspects. How healthy are our food creations? How clean are the individual components? Buzzword: “clean eating”. The guest himself combines unprocessed ingredients, additives are a no-go, herbs are used for seasoning. Or front cooking: The dish is prepared freshly before they eyes of the guests and according to their wishes. Everything is transparent and clear.
It can require a little bit of courage to break with eating habits.
Those who serve oxtail soup instead of Surf and Turf might get some critical commentary at first, but much praise in the end – after all, it’s simply delicious. The so-called “noble parts of the animal” become less important. Sustainable utilisation moves into the spotlight.
Throwing food away due to abundance?
We can afford a lot … But to throw away food? It is said that on average one third of all dishes in restaurants, cafeterias and at events is thrown away. Event planners that really know their craft watch out for the following:
- Age structure and eating habits.
- Religious and cultural habits.
- Time of year and temperature.
- Lots of activities or gala reception.
If the event takes place over several days, the consumption can be adapted – by reducing or supplementing. The offer itself should be delivered in smaller servings. Everything can be kept fresh longer, if it comes in single packages.
A detailed explanation – in writing or through the service personnel – shows the guests the way. They recognise their own position and find what has been inquired beforehand: vegan, vegetarian, suitable for allergy-sufferers, prepared with meat or fish …
Large plates often lead to large servings that are not eaten up in the end. It’s better to encourage a second serving! Those who then offer containers to take the remaining food home have done everything right.
3 myths on sustainable catering
“Organic? Would be nice, but our budget doesn’t allow that.”
Organic products are more expensive, that’s true. But in the long run they pay off, because it is the whole world that pays for the ecological damages of extensive farming. And aside from these ethical musings: The decision for ecological products allows a new conception of the catering. The planning includes less meat, more vegetables, legumes and dairy products. By the way, an improved image is already included in the higher price for organic products …
“Seasonal and regional: That limits culinary creativity.”
Yes and no. If a host invites to a Moroccan gala, he should offer lamb or poultry. That can be organised easily. The spices and other ingredients may come from abroad. You have to consider what the cuisine of an event should express. Accordingly, compromises in terms of ecology or sustainability have to be made. However, addressing the topic critically is progress as well.
“Fairtrade? If everyone is hungry, no one will take notice.”
Wrong. For instance, a buffet is also defined by decoration and labelling. People often spend quite some time in the queue or they pass the buffet consciously slowly in order not to miss any delicacies. They pay attention and read the information on the labels. Those who provide information on origin here, can score with Fairtrade.