Our Operations Director James Russ recently joined a Culinary Study Tour to fellow IACC member-venues in Sweden
At CCT Venues, we’re passionate about food. So when Operations
Director James Russ had a chance to join a Culinary Study Tour of five
of our fellow IACC (International Association of Conference Centres)
member-venues in Sweden recently, he – and we – jumped at the chance.
But while the cuisine was impressive, it wasn’t the only thing that
James found inspiring. The commitment to sustainability and
environmentally-aware practices at each location left him determined to
introduce similar ideas back here in London.
Here James shares his highlights…
Day one: Sigtuna
At our first destination, the Hotell Kristina,
teams were absolutely committed to putting sustainability at the heart
of the business. This was evident in their approach to food, where they
use ‘nose to tail’ cooking. It’s an ethos which means every part of an
animal’s carcass is put to use. A broker helps source misshapen
vegetables and produce with damaged packaging. Some customers would
reject these but of course there’s nothing wrong with them and the
ingredients taste every bit as good as perfectly formed produce when
it’s ready to eat.
We were fascinated to learn that this healthy attitude to avoiding
waste extended even further than we could have imagined. Preserved fish
skins were used in food, and also in clothing. We met a woman proudly
wearing a fish skin waistcoat at the venue.
At our second stop, The Boathouse,
the focus was firmly on high-end Swedish cuisine. On the menu was an
array of beautifully presented traditional options, from raw fish to
pickles, breads and cheeses. This, combined with a stunning view of the
waterfront, made for a very special dining experience.
The last location on our itinerary for Sigtuna was the very impressive Sigtunaholden.
Nestled in a forest, this venue grows much of its own food, and chefs
enjoy foraging for ingredients and incorporating seasonal produce into
the menu. Guests also help out with preparing dishes and mixing
cocktails – an approach which creates a wonderful rapport with visitors.
Sigtunaholden is almost entirely plastic-free, and very hot on
recycling. Unusually, the venue is also paper-free when it comes to
registration. Staff (who wear uniforms made from old curtains!) don’t
sit behind a reception desk. Instead they act as welcoming hosts in open
areas. It gives the place a very friendly atmosphere.
Day two: Stockholm
Högberga Gård was the first venue
we visited in Stockholm. This converted villa is owned by one of the
richest residents in Sweden, and it certainly has a luxurious feel –
right down to the private hot tub meeting room!
Staff here also prepare the venue’s delicious home-made wine, using grapes imported from Tuscany.
The last stop on our agenda was Rönneberga Konferens.
At this large conference centre the culinary focus was around
vegetarian and fish options, and whole foods. Meat very much takes
All waste and recycling is contracted out to ethical businesses here, and teams have removed plastic pens from conference rooms.
It was a fascinating experience to visit Sweden – a country so
steeped in innovative cuisine and a fresh approach to preserving the
environment. At CCT Venues I know we’re always exploring ways to improve
our own approach to sustainability and I’m excited to see how the smart
thinking I saw in Sweden could help shape our business in the future.