I think most vegans who attend events that are catered for often expect the worst. I organise & attend meetings in hotel conference rooms quite frequently. When organising the catering they always ask for dietary requirements & I always ask for a vegan meal. Sometimes my meals are fantastic (The Prince in St Kilda gave me incredible food) & sometimes I get nothing but fruit salad (I hate Hilton on the Park in East Melbourne) & sometimes my food isn't separated or labelled so others eat it or I don't even know what is suitable & there is no one around to ask (MCEC).
So, this week I am attending an Events Management course & they said that they cater morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea, they didn't ask for dietary requirements but I emailed them to let them know I was vegan, expected the worst & packed my bag with lots of snacks.
Yesterday was my first day & at morning tea I was a little bit excited to see soy milk with the tea & coffee & was happy that there were apricots available to eat in a bowl alongside the omni cake. I was eating some apricots when the caterer sought me out & said that he had prepared a special lunch for me & that he also had dried fruit & almonds available for me for morning tea if I wanted so I was pretty happy that they had gone to an effort. Then lunchtime came. At the food table there was a box, labelled vegan - filled with food for me!! There was heaps of food! I got delicious rice paper rolls filled with marinated asparagus, a big salad with kidney beans as well as apricots, strawberries, a muesli bar & a bag of biscuits labelled "afternoon tea". There was way too much food to eat but I was so excited that I took most of it home. So when lunch rolled around today I wondered if I would get the same again, but no & it was even better! Today I got a cup of salad of freekeh, pomegranate, tomato, baby spinach & almonds (aka the best salad I have ever eaten) as well as 2 big rice paper rolls, a small bread roll filled with tapenade & roasted vegies, a muesli bar & nectarines & strawberries.
It is such a small thing to make a little bit of effort but it makes such a difference. I am so used to feeling like I am a nuisance & getting boring salads with no imagination that to come across a caterer who is not only lovely but makes great food is a welcome change!