I don’t go to many conferences, at least by comparison to what seems like the majority of conferencers. I do enjoy the ones I carefully choose to attend. And among the ones I have attended, they’re always well-organized, interesting (for the most part), held at interesting venues, have lots of free swag(!) and provide a nice environment to network (actually, that depends on the topic and who’s there). For the most part, I’m not complaining. Well maybe the prices are a bit high – I mean do we all really need to be given yet another weird and intensely coloured reusable drawstring backpack?
Recently I attended a conference and saw some people I knew, met some new ones and had a good time. I met a guy from Google which really was the cherry on top. I don’t know why it made my day better, but they have great branding and I use a lot of Google products. Anyway, whilst being herded into a messy queue for the buffet lunch, a friend suggested I write about food at conferences because no one ever talks about a shortage of food at conferences. Why? Because everyone is treated like a herd of cows who need to be fattened up before slaughter. Sorry for being graphic, but that’s the corporate feel.
Let me start from the beginning.
Knowing that breakfast will be served, I made an easy decision to eat breakfast at home and timed my arrival such that I would only be able to hang my jacket, grab a tea and check out the crowd before the conference started. I looked at the breakfast spread and it was great – many different types of muffins, mountains of pastries and platters of fruit. I got a sugar high from just glancing at the food. “Good thing I ate at home.” I thought to myself.
Sessions began and before I knew it, it was morning recess.
Back out at the reception area I saw another spread of pastries and sugary goodness for all! Perhaps they were leftovers from breakfast? I somehow manage to avoid them before the sessions began again.
Then it was finally lunch time!
That’s where I found myself in a herd of conferencers with a couple of friends.
The food itself wasn’t bad. I’m not going to sit here and say it was horrible and nasty. It was somewhat Italian themed. The antipasto spread was nice. We’re not in Italy, so there were some lunch meats in there. The caesar salad was very creamy, but as I understand it, those who like caesar salad like it saucy.
Both vegetarian and meat lasagna was served and I had the vegetarian one. It definitely looked better than the meat lasagna, which appeared to be hamburger between strips of overcooked pasta. I do have to give credit for the amount of vegetables that were served – garlic rapini and roasted fennel. Usually you’ll just get some potatoes or overcooked beans.
They also served some dessert with lunch – a medley of various cake/loaves. But I couldn’t even finish off what was on my plate!
And of course, after lunch – back for more speakers until afternoon recess…
This time they had cookies – more importantly oatmeal raisin cookies. I had several. No one can keep me away from oatmeal raisin cookies or ginger molasses cookies or spice cookies or gingerbread and really, most cookies.
In conclusion, I’m just glad they didn’t serve sandwiches :P