Sheri Clemmer is Associate Session Planner for the world church's General Conference Session in San Antonio this July. Spectrum asked her some questions about the menu for delegates and how it was chosen.
Question: How many people do you expect will be eating lunch every day at the HBG Convention Center during the General Conference session in San Antonio?
Answer: We have the capacity to serve up to 10,000 at each meal.
Question: The menu for the week has already been chosen, and is available for all to peruse on the GC session website. According to the GC session website, "menu planning includes intentional efforts to address the suggestions and recommendations of our attendees." How was the menu chosen?
Answer: The menus are designed in consultation with the Divisions in our attempt to provide cuisine that will accommodate the needs of the worldwide attendees. We do our best to take into consideration the information regarding menu items received from the World Divisions.
Screen shot of some of the first Friday's lunch menu from the Session website.
Question: Pleasing the palate of a Russian delegate, Mexican, South Korean, North American and so on is surely no easy task. How did you decide what "international" food to include?
Answer: Rice is a staple in over half of the world — around three billion people eat rice every day. You will find rice in some form in our menu selections each day during Session.
Question: Is the GC absorbing some of the cost of the meals for delegates? How about for visitors? Does the $18 per meal price tag represent the total cost?
Answer: The $18 per meal cost is the exact amount we are paying to the caterer for the meal. The General Conference is absorbing all additional costs involved such as software development, printing of meal tickets, staffing, etc.
Question: Which GC representative is in charge of coordinating the food for the session?
Answer: Jeanette Jump is our Food Service Coordinator. Jeanette has been our liaison with the caterer.
Question: What were your main considerations for choosing the menu?
Answer: Providing a nourishing and pleasing meal for a reasonable price that will be appreciated by many people groups. No matter where we hold a meeting, that is our goal.
Question: I noticed Special K loaf on the menu for the first Sabbath. Surely Special K loaf is not one of the convention center's traditional offerings! Did you give them a recipe?
Answer: The recipe was provided by the General Conference Cafeteria.
Question: Will the chef try it out ahead of time?
Answer: I am sure that he has!
Question: Fritos corn chips is listed as the base of the Haystacks on the menu on the second Sabbath. Does this codify the Haystacks formula once and for all?
Answer: Haystacks are unique and personal to everyone that makes one. One is not required to use Fritos corn chips if they do not want them.
Question: Did someone think that the Texans might prefer tortilla chips?
Answer: Again, one may choose to use the chips or not.
Question: Your website says that "Every effort is being made to alert the greater downtown area of the specific needs of our attendees so quality meals are available." In practice, what does this mean? Is a GC representative visiting the major restaurants around the convention center in person?
Answer: The local restaurants are being made aware of the dietary requests they may receive from our attendees which will not only make our attendees happy but will also increase the revenue potential for the restaurant.
Question: I believe that the GC paid the Starbucks located in the Atlanta convention center to close for the duration of the GC session there in 2010 so that coffee would not be available. Has a similar deal been arranged in San Antonio?
Answer: The General Conference did not pay Starbucks in the Atlanta convention center to close. In fact, we never even spoke directly with any Starbucks personnel at all. The Starbucks was advised by Convention Center staff that as per our agreement with the Convention Center they could serve de-caf products only. They elected to close their doors instead.
Question: Has the food menu for 2015 changed in any significant way for this GC session from previous sessions?
Answer: Every Session brings a new set of menu options.