The leading live events caterer has unveiled a new lunch concept at the ICC in Birmingham, which aims to bring food to life with more interaction between delegates and venue chefs.
Named MADE Collective, the lunch concept will replace the traditional buffet style often found in the conferencing sector, with a new menu focused on local food sourcing, the theatre of food and delegate education.
Headed up by ICC Executive Chef Simon Hellier, the concept moves away from the static buffet distribution style often found at conferencing venues, aiming to inspire guests with a more socially focused approach to hosting meals. This includes a grazing option which allows chefs to cook live on the event floor in front of delegates, offering greater care in servicing certain dietary needs and handling unique organiser requirements.
MADE Collective will engage and educate delegates on the catering’s provenance, including increased interaction from the venue’s event-facing chefs. This process starts from the moment the event organiser chooses the menu, with the Amadeus team providing a menu preview for clients to share with delegates. This not only offers a better experience, but also allows more flexibility in dietary requirements
On the fresh approach, Simon said: “It was all about pushing the boundaries and challenging my team to give the customer the best experience possible.
“The customer to chef relationship is very important to us, but naturally this comes with some challenges when catering at scale. My aim was to try and capture this relationship in a conferencing setting. It is always my aim to offer guests at the ICC a food experience comparable to any restaurant. Even though there may be 800 people, I want them to feel like it is intimate!
“We want to be forward-thinking and leaders in what we do and with MADE Collective we believe we’ve done just that, creating something unique and exciting. No-one has really thought about the whole room being a chef’s table and more of a theatre. Whether it’s dealing with dietary requirements, or talking about where the food’s come from, it’s about having that one-to-one with the customer even at scale.
“The couple of years has been challenging for our sector, but it has also come with benefits, it has given us more time to focus solely on culinary innovation. We really homed in on that and used the time to help deliver a concept that will make a massive difference to our offering.”
Craig Hancox, General Manager for Amadeus at the ICC, commented: “We’re immensely proud of the catering offered at the ICC, however we have been given a chance to take stock of our product and innovate for the future. The new processes have been meticulously planned and we’re confident that MADE Collective will deliver excellent results.
“The concept has a strong focus on a reduction in food miles, 80% of ingredients will be sourced within a 30-mile radius of the venue.”
Amadeus caters for seven million visitors a year at the NEC Group’s five world-class venues and more than 30 venues across the UK including visitor attractions, exhibition venues and conference centres.