How To Plan For Guests With Dietary Requirements – An Interview With The Pier Team
We recently sat down with Shankar, our Head Chef here at The Pier Geelong, and Trudi, a Pier Sales specialist, to get an inside look at how they help make all of our incredible events held here at The Pier dietary friendly. Check out their interview below to get their top tips on ensuring you cater for everyone when planning your next event.
Firstly, a bit about our talented team –
Trudi – Hi, my name is Trudi. I am an event sales consultant, so I’m the first person you’ll speak to when looking to have your event at our beautiful venue.
Shankar – I’m Shankar, Head Chef here at The Pier. I’m from Southern India and was brought up travelling around India. I moved out of home when I was 15 years old and found my love in cooking. I studied in Switzerland and then travelled around India to learn different cuisines of India. I’ve worked in 5 star hotels in the Maldives, USA, Switzerland, and now in Australia.
I worked in Australian resorts in Queensland, Northern Territory and Victoria for more than 8 years which helped me develop an understanding of the food expectations and needs of Australian guests. I have 15 years experience in cooking, which includes managing and tailoring the guests’ needs for every occasion.
I’ve worked in five different countries, including French restaurants in Geneva, Marriott hotel USA and the Oberoi group of hotels in India. I believe in eclectic flavours and bringing them together in my own rhythm to deliver celebrations on the table.
Firstly, how do event planners know if any of their attendees have dietary requirements that need to be catered for?
Trudi – I would recommend having a dedicated area on your physical or digital RSVPS where guests can outline their dietary requirements so you can ensure everyone is catered for. Make it a mandatory field when RSVP-ing online, or make it stand out on a physical RSVP card, so people don’t miss it and end up getting missed in the dietary planning. From there, you can pass on the list of dietary requirements directly to your Pier event planner and we’ll take care of all the hard work with our kitchen team!
What dishes does The Pier serve that cater for dietary requirements?
Shankar – Pork Adobo for entrée covers most of the dietaries, or the Pumpkin Gnocchi as a vegetarian option. For your main course, I definitely recommend the Eye Fillet with mushroom ragout, or the Rosemary Chicken with heirloom carrots. Our Baked Mushroom and sweet potato dish is perfect for vegan guests. We serve hearty meals with beautiful produce which speaks of its own.
Trudi – It’s not just about catering for our celiac and lactose intolerant friends, we really have such an extensive and varied menu in that regard, but it’s also about designing a menu that is suitable for the guests and this can be quite different from event to event. The meals we offer are always of the highest quality and standard, however we also tailor for varied palettes. For example, we have had a carvery for our keto friends. We have also been requested to do a more simple menu of T-Bone Steak and Chicken Parmi’s for our clients who enjoy a plain palette.
What happens if a last minute dietary pops up on the day of the event? How does The Pier cater for this?
Shankar – We do understand, things can’t be perfect and sometimes a last minute guest arrives, or a dietary requirements request was missed on the RSVP’s. We do our best to provide the new dietary person the same level of experience as the rest. Our team does a great job in putting together every little element of a plate in a very short notice while holding high standards.
Trudi – Also, our event specialists are there every step of the way with our clients, and we confirm final dietary requirements and numbers 7 days prior to your event so luckily this is not a regular occurrence, but our talented chefs are capable of adjusting a plate if need be.
Top tips to successfully cater for everyone?
Trudi – Definitely include a section on your RSVP’s for guests to advise of dietary requirements. Also let us know during your initial consultation your food preferences and any dietary requirements you expect will come up so we show you all of our delicious options early in the planning process.
Shankar – Our menu is designed in such a way that every course would give you options for gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, shellfish free, red meat free to name a few. If you know most of your guests don’t like pork or stay nut free, we have tailored our menu in a way that is easy for you to make a quick and easy decision and concentrate on the more important things. Our team of professionals at The Pier Geelong will look after the rest for you!
Ready to start planning your next dietary friendly event here at The Pier? Check out our food gallery to see some of our incredible dishes for yourself.