I have found conference dinners can be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes you get something really special, other times you get something that, well you ask yourself why did I bother!
I remember one conference dinner in Sheffield Town Hall which was really quite awful. It comprised an over-cooked chicken breast wrapped in a rasher of bacon, served with soggy tasteless vegetables.
Whereas the ALT-C 2008 Conference dinner at Leeds at the Edgbaston Cricket Club was out of this world. This was cooked by students from the local college. The main course comprised lamb cooked three ways and we had homemade chocolates.
The venue can also be a critical aspect of the conference dinner. Hotel conference dining rooms may be convenient, but often lack character or personality. mLearn 2008 had two conference dinners, one was at the Ironbridge Museum amongst the tools and engines of the Industrial Revolution. The second was at RAF Cosford under the wings of a Comet jet airliner. The food was pretty good at those dinners too.
The UCISA Spotlight on Digital Capabilities Conference dinner was a pretty good one. The venue was the Birmingham Museum & Gallery which was very atmospheric, well apart from the freaky statue, don’t blink!
We had a chance to explore the museum and see some of the exhibits. The tables were set in part of the museum and was well lit. It was really nice to sit amongst the exhibits in the Industrial Gallery, housing the Decorative Arts collection. The Industrial Gallery is a brilliant example of Victorian architecture, boasting steel work, a glass ceiling and colourful tiled floor.
The food was really nice and beautifully cooked and consisted of three courses, coffee and chocolates. The starter consisted of an olive salad with parma ham, a tomato pie and a risotto rissole.
The rissole was full of flavour and the crumb coating had a nice crunch. The olive salad was tasty and I really enjoyed the tomato pie.
The main course was chargrilled chicken stuffed with safe, served with potato dauphinoise, shoestring vegetables and gravy!
This was nice, not outstanding, the chicken was tender, but I felt it was a little overcooked, or more likely had been standing around for a little too long. The shoestring vegetables was tasty and clever.
The pudding, which I forgot to capture, was a lime desert. This was fresh and sharp and helped clear the palate.
Overall it was a tasty conference dinner, in a beautiful environment and with excellent company.