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It was a spread fit for a king and queen — laid out meticulously on tables at various stations on the main floor of the St. John’s Convention Centre (SJCC) was some of the finest foods prepared by its executive chef and offered by the centre’s new food and beverage provider, Centerplate.
Succulent beef tenderloin, porketto, squid ink brioche, aquavit-cured Atlantic salmon, white chocolate marshmallow pops and S’more cream puffs were some of the samples of upscale dishes offered to various community leaders and business people as part of the launch of Centerplate as the SJCC’s exclusive food and beverage provider.
However, many of the less fortunate people in the community will also get the opportunity to feast on these delicious dishes.
Centerplate is taking part in a food-sharing program in which unused food from various events held at the SJCC will go to either a city food bank or homeless shelter, to be determined in the coming weeks.
Centerplate general manager Rejean Roch said it’s something the company does at all of its facilities across North America. In each case, food is frozen to a proper temperature, stored and distributed.
“It’s something that’s really important for us because it stops food waste, and in convention centres, there can sometimes be a lot if there are flip in numbers or if the numbers go down a little bit,” said Roch, whose Connecticut-based company signed a 10-year contract earlier this year with St. John’s Sports and Entertainment Ltd. to become the SJCC’s exclusive caterer.
“Plus, it shows the community that we want to be a part of it and we’re not just running a convention centre. We want to help and bring as much local aspect into it as we can.”
SJCC executive chef Jeremy McKinnon of Amherstburg, Ont. — who has prepared dishes throughout Canada and Scotland — said there are times when food is prepared for events, but several people don’t show up for various reasons, such as poor weather.
“Sometimes our groups don’t eat as much food as they’ve ordered,” said McKinnon, who was formerly the executive chef at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland.
“So, rather than throwing it in the garbage, we want to give back to people who need it. … It’s our responsibility to look after the less fortunate, and I think it’s such a great initiative.
“It just makes you feel good. We put all this love into the food, so why not share the love with those less fortunate than us?”