Dear Banquet Room and Conference Center Chefs


Dear banquet room and conference center chefs,

I will start out by saying that I write this post in a most sincere manner. I highly regard your culinary knowledge and skills, and in no way am I diluting your cookery abilities.

I recently attended a business function at a conference facility. It was a speaker series and happened to be during the lunch hour. This was one of those speaker luncheons where you eat and network before the lecture begins. Our friendly server takes a tally on the meal choices for the table.

While most everyone at our table stated that they would like the chicken entree, I on the other hand decline. I happen to be a non-meatatarian or in other words a veg-et-er-anean, okay vegetarian! So I asked the friendly server, “what other options do you have besides meat?”

I was ready to hear that I could choose between a chopped kale salad with dried cherries, walnuts and bleu cheese! Or possibly vegetable lasagna with a béchamel sauce, oh yum! Or even Thai quinoa with roasted vegetables, yes!

I was so ready to make my choice for my much anticipated lunch, as I was very hungry it seemed. Then the server announced to me that my choice other than the chicken entree would be, “pasta primavera.” Wait, was I being punished for not wanting the chicken entree? Why were my hopes deflated with that one simple statement?

Not again. Here I am at another business luncheon and the vegetarian in the room is given the ol’ standby. Pasta primavera. It’s like the go-to business luncheon dish for non-carnivorous eaters. I don’t understand this.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like pasta with vegetables. I make this for myself at home and it’s not that hard to prepare. What I don’t understand is why when I am served this dish at a conference center it tastes like, um, how should I say this, air? Where’s the salt? Where’s the al dente penne? How about the steamed, slightly crisp vegetables? What about the flavorful sauce with the fresh herbs? And how can one forget the parmesan cheese? Oh the madness!

All I’m saying, dear banquet menu planner/chef, we non-meat eaters do eat more than pasta and vegetables. We know that you are preparing for a large crowd of hungry people in dark suits. We know that making multiple dishes possibly with a short staff is challenging. I sympathize with you, I really do!

As food choices continue to change and healthy options become paramount, my advice to you is, leave the pasta primavera out of the kitchen. It’s a “been there, done that” kind of a dish. Make us non-meatatarians feel like we count in the room of dark suited business people!

We want the gruyere quiche and the sriracha bean burger (with the sweet potato fries) too! Just to name a few!

Thank you for your time.

Vegetarians across the nation who only wear bright colored business suits! : )


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