Fresh Take on Event Dining: Adelaide Convention Centre teams up with First Nation growers to expand honest goodness menu philosophy

The Adelaide Convention Centre’s Honest Goodness makes nature the hero, placing a strong emphasis on minimal intervention foods and the conscious reduction of processed elements.

The Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) is continuing to transform the convention centre culinary experience with its innovative Honest Goodness menu philosophy. The latest iteration of the menu has seen the venue team up with local producers to shine a spotlight on native Australian foods.

Originally developed by Executive Chef Gavin Robertson, in collaboration with leading nutritional experts from the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the University of Adelaide and CSIRO, the Adelaide Convention Centre’s Honest Goodness makes nature the hero, placing a strong emphasis on minimal intervention foods and the conscious reduction of processed elements. Ninety-seven percent of featured produce is sourced from local, sustainable environments, ensuring guests experience the best of South Australia.

“Since its launch, our Honest Goodness philosophy has really elevated our food offering and set a new benchmark in restaurant-quality, large scale catering. It’s something our team take great pride in and continue to build upon with each season and new menu introduction,” comments Chef Gavin.

“In our latest menu, we’ve integrated various traditional native ingredients, which enhance featured dishes with their unique and diverse flavour offerings and textures, as well as provide opportunity for delegates to experience and celebrate one of the world’s oldest cultures. While these ingredients have been utilised by smaller restaurants for some time, the challenge for large-scale venues such as ours was related to volume and consistency of supply. To enable us to feature these ingredients on our menu year-round, we’ve engaged with local growers to plant and grow specific quantities of these ingredients specially for us, and then come into the kitchen as we design new dishes.”

The collaboration Chef Gavin describes has seen the venue team up with local Australian first foods company, The Native Co., who operate a 6,000sqm greenhouse located just 20 mins from the Adelaide CBD. The company focuses on growing 16 different types of native herbs, which feature prominently on the Centre’s menu from native mint and thyme through to lemon myrtle and Warrigal greens.

Marlon Motlop, Native Herb Grower at The Native Co. comments: “It’s pretty special to have our produce showcased in a venue such as the Adelaide Convention Centre. Not only does it provide a fantastic platform to showcase our produce on a large scale, but supports our education mission. As a First Nations grower, there is the responsibility to capture the stories and origins of each plant, and where they come from. Cultural origins are so important, and food provides a great segue into the education of Australia and Australian history. We take great pride in providing a quality, consistent supply of Australian first foods to the Centre. To then be part of the journey in creating dishes alongside the Centre’s team and to have the opportunity to further educate the customer and consumer around how best to use Australian first foods ties in with my vision and makes for a very special partnership.”

Among a long list of featured dishes on the menu are: Green Ant gin-cured salmon, apple sous vide in white balsamic, charred cucumber, radish, native mint cream, EVOO powder; Spencer Gulf prawns, tarragon aioli, red sorrel, samphire, cucumber, heirloom tomato consommé; Duck confit, orange fennel sous vide carrots, sweet potato gallete, sautéed Warrigal greens, sherry vinegar reduction; and, Lemon myrtle and white chocolate crémeux, puff pastry shard, caramelised macadamia, blueberry gel.

This mutually beneficial partnership has enabled the Adelaide Convention Centre to provide delegates a unique culinary experience that is not only memorable, but educational, while also opening up a new supply chain.