A toast to fine dining
One of Hong Kong's great advantages from the point of view of Mice organisers is the range of food and beverage options available in the city, with a large number of businesses offering services geared to their specific needs.
Local outside catering options reflect the quality and diversity of Hong Kong's lively dining scene. Event planners can choose to block book a restaurant, reserve one of its function rooms, or have food from a favourite kitchen served at a location of their choice.
Many businesses offer high-end food and beverage (F&B) services to corporate clients, ranging from specialist institutional caterers, to restaurant groups, hotels and private clubs, all of which are accustomed to meeting a wide range of requirements and expectations.
'We do outside catering for corporate clients, banks and fashion brands,' says Duyen Hackett, F&B and image manager of Lan Kwai Fong Entertainments, which operates nine themed bars and restaurants in Central. 'We can do anything from a dinner for two to a cocktail party for about 350.
'We recently did a party for 300 for Lane Crawford, whom we work a lot with. We handle a lot of corporate lunches and dinners. For boardroom lunches we cook here [in the restaurants] and reassemble that at the location. For outside sit-down dinners we've catered for up to about 100, but often people want to come to the restaurants.'
The group's clients include airlines, chambers of commerce, banks, luxury retailers and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Services range from delivering lunchboxes to full-scale corporate lunches or dinners.
Hackett says the group can offer clients a wide range of menus. 'If they want Japanese, we'll do Japanese, or if they want Vietnamese or Italian we can do that,' she says. 'If they want an Asian and Western buffet combined we can also do that. It's based on budget. Normally, when we do canap?s, I'll make suggestions as to what will work well. We're very flexible.'
Most buffets have an Asian element, and many regional cuisines lend themselves well to cocktail canap? service, with favourites including Japanese sushi, Chinese and Vietnamese spring rolls, Thai prawn and fishcakes, Indian samosas and Cantonese dim sum staples such as har gau and siu mai. Peking duck pancakes are also popular, as are bite-sized delicacies served on Chinese porcelain spoons.
Many hotels also undertake outside catering.
Clients wanting high-end service can even call on the services of the Michelin-starred chefs of leading hotel restaurants, such as Uwe Opocensky, executive chef of the Mandarin Oriental's Krug Room, a popular venue for special corporate dinners.
'We are often asked to cater for fashion houses and luxury brands who are very detailed in their requests and often have very unusual themes, such as arranging an afternoon tea service suspended from the ceiling,' Katherine Anthony, public relations director for the hotel, says.
With Hong Kong and the mainland's meetings industry growing, so seems the appetite for corporate catering.