Popular for its large crowd, meticulous food preparation and high-spirited guests, Chinese banquets are often one of the most challenging set-ups for any event space and operations teams.
The Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur recently took Chinese banquets to a whole new level by serving dinner to 6,600 delegates at one go.
At the high-powered Intercoin Fintech System Conference on July 9, international delegates feasted on a 10-course dinner put together by an intrepid MITEC culinary team.
"It was a major feat to pull off as the culinary team had to brainstorm creatively for the menu, balance between catering the amount of food needed and, at the same time, careful planning and execution of the event," said MITEC Executive Chef Chiew Chee Mun.
Some of the dishes served from the kitchen included MITEC's signature braised abalone Von au Vent, smoked eel with wakame, stuffed smoked salmon bite and lemongrass cod skewer, among others. He said the unconventional menu also demonstrated their ability to create new dishes that retained the core essence of a Chinese banquet menu.
"As this is the largest banquet setting in Kuala Lumpur, we required a team of 930 from the kitchen, service and stewarding combined. The team did a splendid job in turning around the venue in a mere two hours from theatre-style to banquet setting.
"We worked with college students to support the banqueting team, giving them a real-life experience of culinary events and highlighting MITEC's value of community support which have a strong focus on 'on-the-job' training and emphasis on work-integrated learning," pointed out Chef Chiew.
He added that the conference also gave MITEC the opportunity to demonstrate the versatility of the venue which is Malaysia's largest trade and exhibition centre offering 45,000 sqm of space.
"The loading bay and Halls 6-8 on Level 2 were converted into a fruit orchard, where we served fresh Malaysian fruits to our delegates. In fact, we broke what people would label as taboo by having a durian party in a closed area! About 6.5 tons of durians were served to delegates. It is truly a milestone not only for MITEC but also for the business events industry," said Chef Chiew.
MITEC also converted its Halls 9-11 on Level 3 to a satellite kitchen for efficient meal preparation and food presentation.