The 30 August MICE Focus Group at Gallagher Convention Centre concentrated on the intriguing subject of ‘Volume Catering’.

After the Academy set-the-scene of why was the event being held including theme, demographics, service & entertainmen- type plus budget requirements – the South African Chefs Association’s Thomas Overbeck got into full stride with an in-depth explanation.

There were many highlights to make the ardent listeners sit up and think.

Below are a few of interest which challenged the participants:

  • Understanding Silver Service and the Role of the Spoon and Fork
    Participants practiced silver service and demonstrate whether they were able to use the spoon and fork for the silver service ‘scoop’ and ‘grip’ serving.  Fortunately this was not part of the Q&A test !
  • Usual Chef’s Over-catering
    Between 5 and 8% for wastage, spoils etc.
  • Allergies and the various terms and history
  1. Pescatarian – No meat but fish consumed
  2. Flexitarian – Vegetarian with occasional meat consumed
  3. Macrobiotic – Revered for health and healing qualities includes unprocessed vegan products such as whole grain, fruit and vegetables. The unique qualifier is the consumption of Asian vegetables, such as daikon, and sea vegetables, such as seaweed
  • Self-respecting Chefs Appearance
    A Chef’s uniform of while jacket, chequered pants and kerchief with safety shoes is worn with pride
  • Discovering the Barista Profession
    A Barista is the one that is highly experienced at making the various kinds of coffees especially the famous cappuccinos.  (a few thousand in 30 minutes can be accomplished)
  • Celebrate the Chef
    The finest tribute for the  Chef and his staff to come out of the kitchen especially with sparklers on the dessert.  A fitting round-off to a perfect evening by thanking the Chef and his team in this manner.

Overbeck concluded by pointing-out:  ‘Volume catering in the MICE industry can be a puzzle, a mystery and quite baffling but it is totally manageable if you know the rules of the game behind that kitchen door’

 All participants qualified for their Compliance certificate by scoring the required amount of points during the test which concluded the 7th MICE Focus Group session in 2013. Four CPD credits were gained by the participants.

The Academy is going green for the next Focus Group which takes place on the 27  September.  Check the website at or email to be on the mailing list to receive all the details.