4000 Hungry Heathens – The food of the 2012 Global Atheist Convention, Melbourne Convention Centre, April 13-15 #atheistcon

April 17, 2012 · 31 comments

The good people of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre were challenged to feed four thousand hungry, sleep deprived, opinionated atheists over the three days of the Global Atheist Convention. And, despite a few grumblings from the vegans, I think they did really really well!

Welcome Reception

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Kicking off the weekend, armed with a couple of glasses of wine, or a few beers, a smorgasboard of sushi rolls, oysters, rice paper rolls and mini sausages greeted us. Some struggled to find their vego options, but I just tucked into the sushi. Nom nom nom.

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Live sushi making!

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

And so we merrily went in for an evening of comedy to kick things off!

Morning and Afternoon Teas

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Morning and afternoon teas brought the usual dodgy coffee (and thus long queues for the coffee cart for proper soy lattes!), but there was a huge selection of teas on offer, and half-decent sachets of hot chocolate.

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

I loved the SerendipiTea chai (once they fetched more soy milk because they made the mistake of not labelling the mini soy jugs as soy and I believe many people had their first soy coffees that first morning!), and the peppermint was also as expected.

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne
(The MCEC coffee cart was well priced and good to kick off my morning before the first talk. $4 for a large, no extra soy charge)

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

The gluten full home-made cookies were devoured by the masses.

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne
Many more apples were consumed by me on the weekend than most months. No wonder I got a tummy ache!

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

The gluten free and vegan among the group were offered vast amounts of fruit pillows, but also melting moments, choc chip cookies (not vegan) and jam thingies. Pre-packaged, but appreciated!

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

There was an awesome gluten free caramel slice on the first afternoon! I didn’t eat the jam tarts. Anyone?

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Lunches

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

The separate special needs table provided some delicious gluten free rolls, gluten free foccacia, sushi with gluten free soy sauce, and other gluten free options of awesome:

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Ham was provided. You know, cos Atheists aren’t Jewish or Muslim.

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Lunchtime entertainment was provided by the Christians on Saturday, and Muslims on Sunday.

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

If you were at the Convention, what was your foodie highlight? If not, what has been your best and worst conference food experience?

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gary April 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm

The food looks great Fiona :-)

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2 Fiona April 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm

It was amazing. They did such a great job!

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3 Gerry April 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Saturday and Sunday were ok, but Friday night was crap for vegetarians and vegans. There were 5 options (“fish” cakes, miso soup, sushi, rice paper rolls and dumplings) compared to 14 or 15 (including the vegetarian options) for meat eaters. With the exception of tiny pieces of tofu in the miso soup there were no protein options. The vegan and vegetarian food was served in small portions from tiny trays by circulating waiters – and meat eaters usually got to them first. The sushi stations making fresh sushi had long queues, and you missed out on the other options if you got stuck in one.

Overall a terrible start. I had to go over the road to Crown casino for a falafel roll when the evening ended.

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4 Fiona April 18, 2012 at 7:24 am

Ahh were the fish cakes not fish? They didn’t even tell us that… If they did then some people may not have been so eager! ;)

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5 Gerry April 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

There were fishy fish cakes, and non-fishy fish cakes :)

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6 Fiona April 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Apparently so!

All I know is the one I had was spicier than expected!

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7 Anna Yeung April 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Glad you liked it! I tried to make it balanced with vego and non-vego options but wasn’t really given a choice with Friday night canapes. Lesson learned.

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8 Fiona April 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Hope you’re getting lots of constructive feedback :)

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9 Jake Farr-Wharton April 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm

All of those culinary memories flood back like a torrent of sumptuous palate love making.

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10 Fiona April 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

*swoons*

(for the sushi rolls, of course, not your poetic words)

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11 JD April 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I’m not expecting to be as well fed for ComicCon despite it being the same venue.
BUT if not,i’m sure we’ll have Patrick Stewart or Hudson Leicke (Google her!) to lead a revolution for us.

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12 Fiona April 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

What would Patrick Stewart eat?

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13 Tracey April 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

That is some seriously good catering going on – everything there looked fresh and healthy!

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14 Fiona April 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm

It was! we were stuffed with fresh goodness, and there was iced tea at lunch instead of coke!

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15 Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) April 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Good to see so many gluten-free options!

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16 Fiona April 19, 2012 at 11:53 am

It was amazing! :)

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17 JD April 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Im not sure,but he’d definitely drink Tea,Earl Grey,hot

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18 Fiona April 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

any sugar? Milk? lemon slice?

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19 JD April 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I refer you to the following conversation from “All God things…”
“Tea? Earl grey, HOT”
“of course its ‘ot! What d’ you want innit?”
“NOTHING!”

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20 Fiona April 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I’m just thinking of the Lego Eddy Izzard/Starwars in the cafeteria video now….

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21 Kylie Sturgess April 19, 2012 at 11:34 am

I saw so many comments online about the first night and vegetarian meals, Gerry, that I made SURE that the first thing I said on the Saturday was ‘Respect The Vegetarians – Otherwise Peter Singer Will Have Words With You’. I hoped it worked out for the rest of the convention.

Answer to the last question – cookies. I’d take some back in my bag to my hotel room to eat in the bath at 11pm.

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22 Fiona April 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

The cookies looked awesome, they got some great comments! :) I focussed my efforts on apples into my bag…

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23 Gerry April 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Kylie things improved with the separate dispensing area on Saturday and Sunday – but I’d add one more suggestion – give those of us who’ve nominated a dietary requirement a coloured sticky dot to put on our lanyards so that meat eaters can’t muscle their way into our queues (pun intended) :)

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24 Kylie Sturgess April 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Very good point, but I’m not authorised to do that (not part of my job!!) – do zip in that feedback to the conference, as that’s a great idea!

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25 Fiona April 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm

How will feedback be given? Online survey?

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26 Fiona April 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I like coloured sticky dots. I think I got a silver star at one conference! made me feel “special” ;)

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27 Dr Caveman April 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I had a lot of fun telling people that the oysters were donated by cardinal Pell

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28 Fiona April 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I don’t eat oysters anyway, but convention oysters make me wary, regardless of whether Pell is involved or not

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29 Kat April 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I was seriously impressed with the food! As someone with post-bariatric surgery special needs I was delighted with the small serves of high protien food. The bean salad was nom nom, and the rolls had plenty of meat in them to keep me happy. The only disappointing thing was no savory offering at morning and afternoon tea. I can’t eat biscuits as they are too high in fat and sugar and leave me feeling decidedly unwell. I ate half an apple the first afternoon but wised up and stashed a roll for afternoon tea. I would have loved the option of crackers. My husband, on the other hand, cheerfully inhaled everything on offer and was very impressed that plenty of selection remained after the initial rush each lunch time. It was a thoroughly professional set up and rendered the high ticket price completely justifiable.

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30 penny aka jeroxie April 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

They definitely pulled it off brilliantly!

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31 Alex April 20, 2012 at 6:23 am

I would’ve preferred some warm beef, chicken or fish. Instead, we got cold food all throughout the weekend, even the sausages on Friday night.

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