University of Otago University Union conferences and events
catering department chefs Riki Young and Karen McCleary
prepare biscuits and friands for the Library and
Information Association of New Zealand centennial
With 6500 meals to prepare this week for the largest
conference to be held in Dunedin for about three years,
University of Otago catering staff are busy.
They are catering for about 630 at the Library and
Information Association of New Zealand's centennial
conference - more than 500 delegates and about 90 exhibitors
- producing breakfasts, morning and afternoon teas, lunches
and cocktail event food.
That included catering to more than 80 vegan,
lactose-intolerant and gluten-intolerant people with
specialised dietary requirements, University Union general
manager Stephen Baughan said yesterday.
The conference, spread over several university lecture
theatres, began on Sunday and finishes today.
Dunedin hosts few conferences of more than 500 delegates,
perhaps one each year. The biggest conference of recent years
by far was the Plunket centennial conference in 2007,
attended by 1300 delegates.
Some of the delegates listen to the keynote speaker former
Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung yesterday. Photos
by Peter McIntosh.
While the library conference is one of the largest his
University Union conferences and events catering staff had
catered for, producing large quantities of food quickly was not
uncommon for them, Mr Baughan said.
"[We are] a specialist unit that across the year caters for
between 26 and 63 events a month. In some months, around 6000
people are catered to. We have large production facilities
and the infrastructure to cater simultaneously to multiple
events throughout campus."
In November, 13 conferences with more than 1500 delegates in
total were catered, he said.
Things were even busier during university semesters when
staff and students were in residence, Mr Baughan said.
More than 400 staff across the university's food and
beverage, residential college catering, retail and conference
and events departments produced 4500 meals a day for the
seven university-owned residential colleges as well as
producing goods for 16 food outlets, cafes and retail shops
Like other conferences, the library conference was also
providing bonus summer work for students, Mr Baughan said.
"Most of our front-of-house eventing staff and our kitchen
hands are students. It is great to be able to give this group
some work during their holidays."