HONEST GOODNESS: CONVENTION CENTRE DINING TRANSFORMED
A pioneer from the start, the Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) recently launched its latest innovation in the form of a fresh new menu, ‘Honest Goodness’. Developed in collaboration with leading nutritional experts from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the University of Adelaide, and CSIRO, Health & Biosecurity, the new menu is transforming the convention centre culinary experience with its emphasis on minimal intervention foods and conscious reduction of processed elements.
“We’re proud to support the public nutrition message and view our heightened focus on mindful eating an important part of our community engagement,” says Simon Burgess, General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre. “Prior to launching Honest Goodness, we’d played host to a number of key Asia-Pacific nutrition conferences and were increasingly being asked for healthier menu options. This, coupled with growing public conversation about healthy eating, was the catalyst for our new menu philosophy. While the menu has only just been released, we’re thrilled with the early feedback, which has been extremely positive.”
Honest Goodness was created by the ACC’s Executive Chef Gavin Robertson in consultation with Professor Gary Wittert of SAHMRI / University of Adelaide, and Pennie Taylor, a senior research dietitian with CSIRO’s Health and Biosecurity unit. Developed with good nutrition in mind, the menu is brimming with nutrient-dense, whole foods sourced from local, sustainable environments. With a strong emphasis on ‘house-made’, ingredients are prepared by the ACC’s dedicated in-house chefs to make restaurant-quality dishes that are vibrant in colour and bursting with flavour.
“In designing Honest Goodness our aim was to make nature the hero,” comments Chef Gavin, who heads up the ACC’s team of 75 kitchen staff. “We listened to our clients, handpicked the best of regional produce and engaged local artisan producers to develop a menu that is not only distinctly South Australian, but full of flavour. The emphasis is very much on replacing processed elements with whole, fresh ingredients.”
To deliver on this commitment, 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. There’s also a strong focus on ‘preservative free’. Instead of using ingredients featuring nitrates, synthetic food preservatives or other additives, Honest Goodness uses natural rubs and house-made marinades to enhance flavour. In addition, cured and processed meats, which are traditionally high in preservatives, have been exchanged for in-house smoked and roasted meats.
Chef Gavin continues, “Food consumed during a conference plays a huge part in the success of the event. It’s key to the delegate experience and aside from the conference program, is what people usually remember most. Food is also one way you can give delegates a sense of the destination. In South Australia, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to incredible produce. At the Adelaide Convention Centre, we’re committed to offering our guests a taste of South Australia with 97 percent of featured produce sourced locally.”
Professor Gary Wittert of SAHMRI and University of Adelaide adds, “It seems to me this (Honest Goodness) is science in action – open-minded collaboration between people from different professional backgrounds, achieving an outcome good for public health, good for business and good for South Australia.”