Let me ask you something: if you are a vegan would you think to advise the host of a dinner party you are invited to that you don’t eat meat, seafood, eggs or dairy, or would you just hope that someone else would pass it on? I hope you would take it upon yourself to inform the host and so avoid undue stress in the kitchen, and to ensure you will be fed. What about if you are attending a ticketed event that you have paid for? My advice is to do the same. Advising the organisers or caterers in advance is the only way to ensure you will get your entitlements. At events where canapés are to be served vegetarians often wing it, and these days it usually works out okay as more caterers are including vegetable-based choices with their offerings. But the vegan pantry has to be constructed differently. If I were vegan, and paying a ticket to attend an event, I would want to ensure that I was going to be served suitable dishes, and, when it comes to canapés, I don’t mean just one thing out of a choice of six, but a reasonable choice of dishes. Of course this puts a strain on caterers, and makes serving difficult (I had to ask one volunteer at the recent Waiheke Garden Party to keep a platter of vegan food covered with plastic wrap until she located the intended recipient, otherwise non-vegans just fall on food as it goes past and by the time you arrive at your destination, there’s little left). The caterer hadn’t been informed in advance (that’s me) about vegan requirements, and vegetarians attending hadn’t checked in either. The vegetarians were well serviced, but I just wish the vegans had put up their hands before the day. We could then have devised a system to ensure food prepared for them actually got to them. I could have catered for a dozen vegans and as many gluten intolerant, but funnily enough, there were no requests for gluten-free food at this event.
While this is not really a moan, it is ‘an ask’ that if you have dietary requirements be courteous to your host and inform them in advance. And no bluffing, aye, claiming to be vegetarian but eating the prawns, or gluten-free and eating ‘just a little bit’ of flaky pastry because it’s all golden and smells delicious. With festive catering coming up, all of us, and that’s home cooks, too, want to please our guests, not antagonise them. Oops, it is turning into a moan. Better stop.