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Socially Responsible Culinary Experiences For Groups
From dining at a restaurant that supports aspiring Indigenous chefs to a private feast at a non-profit venue, these socially responsible culinary experiences will leave groups not only with full bellies, but full hearts.
When choosing a fine dining experience for business events groups, consider one that supports training and employment for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The National Indigenous Training Academy run by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia aims to empower a growing Indigenous workforce by offering training, employment and residential support at both Ayers Rock Resort at Uluru and Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre near Cairns. By choosing a dining experience like Tali Wiru – a spectacular alfresco dinner in the desert overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta – groups can help to change the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Similarly, the National Indigenous Culinary Institute offers elite training and experience for aspiring Indigenous chefs through partnerships with some of Australia’s most prestigious restaurants including Rockpool Bar & Grill (Sydney/Warrane, Melbourne/Narrm and Perth/Boorloo) Bistro Guillaume at Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne, and Aria in Sydney. The program combines unique on-the-job training including mentoring from top Australian chefs with a contemporary industry-designed qualification, developing skilled Indigenous chefs who are role models and leaders for future trainees.
In Sydney/Warrane, hosting an event at ICC Sydney offers a unique way to give back to the community. When designing the event, clients can opt for ‘edible centrepieces’ arranged in recycled vases, which replace floral arrangements with seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs sourced from the Centre’s network of regional suppliers. Post-event, the produce is used to create nutritious meals which are donated to a local charity that supports Australians experiencing homelessness. Part of ICC Sydney’s Legacy Program, this service is available for banquets of 200 guests or more and is a clever way for business events to do their bit for the community whilst simultaneously supporting local suppliers and reducing waste.
In South Australia’s capital of Adelaide/Tarntanya, Light ADL is a social enterprise aimed at creating opportunities for artists. The philanthropic organisation reinvests profits from its restaurants, events and immersive light and art experiences into cultivating training pathways for creatives to navigate the evolving landscape of arts and entertainment. Corporate groups can support Light ADL by hosting an event at its beautiful bluestone heritage building in Adelaide’s West End, which offers several impressive spaces for private events. Kick off with welcome drinks at Beags, an outdoor area with lush foliage and timber booths, or in The Light Room – an elegant upstairs bar that’s been recently renovated. Dinner can be served at onsite restaurant Aurora, which offers a premium dining experience for up to 100 guests with a menu that celebrates local produce, seasonality and culinary excellence. Or, for an immersive experience, surround guests with 50 sqm (538 sq. ft) of cutting-edge LED screens in The Lab, which can host a seated event for up to 70 guests or cocktail-style for 160.
In Melbourne/Narrm, leading social enterprise STREAT provides marginalised young people with supported training and employment pathways into the hospitality and horticulture industries. Corporates can support STREAT by hosting an event at its Collingwood venue Cromwell Manor, which offers a stylish setting complete with both indoor and outdoor spaces. With exposed brick walls, generous greenery and plenty of natural light, the entire space suits up to 100 guests for a cocktail-style event or can be sectioned into smaller spaces (atrium, courtyard and hall) for more intimate stand-up gatherings. STREAT also offers professional offsite catering, hampers and gift packs.
Near Queensland’s capital of Brisbane/Meeanjin, groups staying at Spicers Hidden Vale can take a guided tour of the kitchen garden and learn the real meaning of the word ‘provenance’. This 34-room luxury retreat in Brisbane’s hinterland is ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to food sustainability, with an extensive market garden, orchard, mango trees and beehives that supply the hatted onsite restaurant, Homage. Guests can sample seasonal vegetables and peek behind the scenes at the preserving room and smokehouse which are used to create the unique ingredients and flavours they’ll experience at Homage. On departure, guests are gifted a bag of seeds to encourage bee population growth in urban environments, along with a better understanding of how to reduce food miles and lower carbon emissions by growing, sourcing and advocating for local produce.
Published: 26 July 2023