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From Alkaline to the Plan Z Diet Education Program

Oct Edu Program PP Header

By: Patty Stern | Nov 16, 2022

The fall weather with trees at peak color was a perfect backdrop for our October 20th education program, hosted by Lambertville Station in Lambertville, NJ. I was excited about this meeting because the focus of the topic was FOOD, a classic audience favorite! IMG_4578

This particular meeting held super-special meaning for our speaker Sharon DeFelices, CMP, one of our seasoned planners and a MPI member. She is passionate about sharing her expertise regarding nutrition and understanding dietary trends, and she purposefully selected our venue because of her history working with the property. And, as a bonus to complement the topic, she looked forward to working directly with the chef to create an interactive food experience for us.

Over the past decade in our industry, the topic of the foods being served at meetings and conferences, with attention to ingredients, allergies and nutrients, has continued to increase in relevance.

Sharon dug deep with regard to sharing the huge variety of dietary concerns attendees have nowadays. Appropriately, her presentation title of “From Alkaline to the Plan Z Diet” is truth! My head was IMG_4594 spinning as she outlined a variety of diets attendees may request. I wondered to myself, “How on earth can we possibly deliver on every single dietary requirement requested by attendees?”

Here is an important distinction to consider: Sharon’s presentation focus was on helping us understand DIETARY requirements, NOT allergy requirements. There is definitely a difference between healthier lifestyle choices and cultural eating, which have increased in popularity (and thus more requests are coming back from dietary surveys) and life-threatening dietary requirements that might be attached to an allergy. Collecting and understanding the information is key to attendee satisfaction (and safety) at your events.

Sharon and Chef Beall spent time discussing how planners can have effective conversations with the chef and that most chefs absolutely welcome the opportunity to be a terrific culinary partner and accommodate dietary needs with clever menus. (And accommodate those attendees with specific dietary needs who may need a more customized menu.)

Cost was brought up, as well. In addition to inflationary costs for F&B, it’s time for planners to make sure they increase their food and beverage budgets and proactively prepare to offer menus that can better accommodate the requests for healthier menus where the costs for the ingredients and preparation are higher. (Remember, you can always come in under budget, right)?

What was the high-reaching message we took away from this program? Menu planning that is more inclusive can be achieved when you’re willing to invest the time to collaborate with the culinary team and the chef.

Equally important is to make certain that when attendees register and notate special dietary needs, this information is clearly communicated to the planner. The attendee should be acknowledged with an email or phone call to discuss what is needed to accommodate the dietary requirement. (And any additional cost that may be involved.)

Chef Beall and Sharon collaborated on our lunch menu, which was all IMG_4610 freshly prepared in front of us. Creative, healthy, and clean food, and great fun, too!

As always, we are deeply appreciative of our Strategic Education Partners and thank Wind Creek Bethlehem and Kalahari Resorts for their continued loyal support of the MPI New Jersey Chapter. Thank you for joining us and keeping us apprised of what’s happening at your properties.

As for Lambertville Station, what a gem of a property and a gem of a town! Looking forward to returning for an overnight to get the full “small-town” experience. Thank you for hosting us.



Patty Stern Headshot
Patty Stern
Founder & Creative Director at Patty Stern Creative

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