The Adelaide Convention Centre’s (ACC) commitment to innovation was celebrated at the prestigious 2018 Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) National Awards earlier this year with the venue claiming top honours in the ‘Banqueting & Catering’ category.  The award follows the launch of the ACC’s innovative Honest Goodness menu and food philosophy, which has transformed the convention centre culinary experience with its focus on mindful eating.

The MEA National Awards are considered Australia’s premier awards for the meetings and events industry; the ACC’s win saw the venue beat off strong competition from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“Food plays such an important part in the event experience; to be recognised as ‘Australia’s Best’ when it comes to banqueting and catering is a wonderful honour. This award not only reflects our team’s continuous commitment to innovation but stands as a terrific endorsement for our Honest Goodness philosophy, which is all about celebrating food that not only tastes good, but is good for you in every sense,” says Simon Burgess, General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre.

Robyn Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Meetings & Events Australia, comments, “MEA congratulates Adelaide Convention Centre on receiving the 2018 MEA Banquet & Catering Award. We experienced firsthand their food offering at the MEA National Conference last year, receiving rave reviews from our delegates on not only the freshness and quality of the food presented, but the creativity of the ACC’s chefs. I applaud the ACC on their continued innovation and efforts to transform the event culinary experience and in addressing our industry’s growing demand for healthy eating.”


Launched in July 2018, the ACC’s Honest Goodness menu philosophy was developed by the ACC’s Executive Chef Gavin Robertson in collaboration with leading nutritional experts from the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), University of Adelaide and CSIRO, Health and Biosecurity. Best described as ‘feel good, whole food, made fresh’, the menu brings public nutrition to the forefront, transforming the event culinary experience with its strong emphasis on minimal intervention foods and conscious reduction of processed elements. Among key features of the menu, Chef Gavin and his team have reduced salts by replacing them with rubs and spices, and swapped out sugar-laden drinks for house-made ice teas and fruit-infused waters. Instead of using ingredients featuring nitrates, synthetic food preservatives or other additives, the Honest Goodness menu uses natural rubs and house-made marinades to enhance flavour. (Learn more about key features of Honest Goodness, here).

The MEA Award also recognises the ACC’s commitment to sustainability as part of its banqueting and catering operation. The ACC has a comprehensive food redistribution program in place which has seen more than 160,000 unused meals donated to OzHarvest and Foodbank to help feed the hungry. In addition, the Centre has a strong local food policy in place with 97 percent of produce sourced from local, sustainable environments. This not only ensures guests at the Centre are treated to a ‘taste of South Australia’, but helps support local business and reduces the venue’s food miles.

Gavin Robertson, Executive Chef at the Adelaide Convention Centre adds, “Designing Honest Goodness was certainly not without challenges – it completely changed the way we do business, particularly in the kitchen – but our team embraced these as they believed in the concept and public nutrition is important to us all. We’re humbled by this award and extend our thanks to MEA; it provides fantastic recognition and ongoing motivation for our team and South Australian producers as we continue to grow our Honest Goodness concept.”

The ACC’s first ‘refresh’ of its Honest Goodness menu is due for release in July. Ahead of the menu’s release, the ACC team conducted a client survey on industry attitude and trends relating to conference catering. Results of the survey further endorsed the venue’s Honest Goodness philosophy and a strong move towards ‘mindful eating’ by conference organisers and delegates.

Key survey results are summarised as follows:

  • 74 percent of respondents agreed that healthy menu options are an important decision-making factor when planning a conference
  • 79 percent of respondents agreed that venues have a responsibility to provide healthy food options
  • 63 percent of respondents agreed that delegates are asking for healthier food options at events
  • 67 percent of respondents agreed that event delegates expect special occasion food at events
  • 90 percent of respondents agreed that Honest Goodness would be a somewhat or very important influence on their decision where to hold at events

Further information on the ACC’s food and beverage offerings can be found online at