I had the pleasure of managing the marketing function at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 2010 to 2016 under the outstanding leadership of Alec Gilbert and Simon Burgess. Food was (is and always will be) central to the guest experience and represented a major revenue stake. However, we also realized that food was also the connection between the interstate or international guest and the state of South Australia. Operating the largest kitchen in the state and committed to buying local 98% of the produce, the Adelaide Convention Centre played a front stage role in positioning SA as a premium food and wine destination and producer. I am re-proposing below an article where I talk about how we encapsulated all this through a new philosophy, Soils & Seasons, which provides a great story to tell your clients.
“If you ever have had guests at home for dinner, you understand the pressure that goes into ensuring they are impressed with the menu you serve. After all, for thousands of years, food has been at the centre of successful social interaction and is still often part of important rituals (a first dinner date, an important business meeting etc…).
Australia gets it and that’s why Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign is spot on. Just like as a country we elevate ourselves against other international destinations on the absolutely vital matter of good food and wine, so do we as a state (South Australia) and so must we as a venue (Adelaide Convention Centre).
It has become increasingly important in the last few years to deliver a positive and diverse culinary experience to visitors to the Centre, one that leaves them talking and sharing on their way back home. And so it should be because many of these visitors are travelling to our state for the first time and the Centre is the first place they come to, straight from the airport or their hotel room.
At the Adelaide Convention Centre, we encapsulated our core philosophy with two words: Soils & Seasons.
It’s the climate… mild, four seasons – plenty of sunshine and just enough rain. It’s the soil…red dirt, yellow sands, loam and clay – all productive in different ways. It’s the water…sea, rivers, streams – bountiful, clean and carefully managed. It’s the people…who plant, herd, catch, pick and create.
It’s stories of farmers and fishers and growers, who’ve battled and bettered Nature for generations. Of migrants who’ve come in waves, bringing new knowledge, new foods, new ways, new seeds. Of native plants and animals, once thought curious, now eclectic ingredients in an exciting food culture.
Luscious oysters from the West Coast, wild Kingfish from the Gulf, premium lamb from the Murraylands. Handmade cheeses, sun ripened fruit, crisp, sweet vegetables, first-pressed olive oil… locally sourced in South Australia 98% of the times.
The philosophy carries through the whole experience, from choreography of the set up to the aprons worn by our service team, but most importantly on the table, where the story is executed.
Creating a strong philosophy behind our culinary offer and delivering on the promise has positioned the Centre aside from the competition and provides our Sales Team a fascinating story to tell.”