Sustainable events venue 15Hatfields has further extended its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by hosting its first 100% palm oil free event.
Created for Convenzis Education for their annual National MAT Awards 2023, which celebrates the achievements of multi academy trusts, the dinner for 150 followed three years of painstaking work as 15Hatfields strives to become the UK’s first venue to be entirely palm oil free. This is a pivotal part of its commitments to UN Goals 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 13 (Climate action).
“As we take a holistic view and drilled down further into the impacts of our business, we were keen to reduce our impact on deforestation and global warming, so eradicating palm oil was the next obvious step after our huge sustainable successes in other areas,” explains 15Hatfields’ general manager Warren Campbell.
“However, this is no mean feat as it is literally astounding and quite an education when you discover how many products contain palm oil in its many, many guises. It can be found in so many foods, beverages, cleaning products and consumables, so auditing and securing palm oil free alternatives is a mammoth undertaking. There are also additional challenges due to current labelling changes by the UK Food Standards Agency caused by the conflict in Ukraine.”
Working in partnership with Boulevard Events, the delicious menu created by chefs Dan Maher and Kate Bassett for guests attending the glitzy black-tie awards featured a variety of canapés and a three-course meal including smoked goat’s cheese tart, cider-glazed pork belly, portobello mushroom & spinach wellington, rich chocolate brownie and more.
It saw every ingredient being placed under the spotlight. “The biggest obstacle was ensuring every product we purchased did not contain palm oil,” said Chelsea Liddard, Boulevard Events’ event manager. “The tartlet cases for the smoked goats cheese tart canapé, for example, is usually a bought in product which we discovered had palm oil in it. So, our chefs made them from scratch instead to guarantee they were palm oil free.”
Matt McDermott, director at Convenzis Education, said: “We are always impressed with 15Hatfields’ innovative approach and commitment to sustainability, so were suitably delighted when they suggested that the National MAT Awards should be completely palm oil free, and were extremely pleased with the result. The 15Hatfields’ team always go above and beyond to ensure our attendees have a memorable and first-class evening. We also use the venue regularly for conferences and the team, on top of a great accessible venue, are what keep us coming back.”
Warren added: “We hope that by shining a spotlight on the palm oil problem and being transparent in our approach, we can ultimately educate, de-myth, and create a groundswell of change not only in the way the sector operates, but among supply chains. We are extremely grateful that Boulevard Events has taken on the mantle and is willing to support our endeavours to continually innovate and offer 100% palm oil free catered events such as award ceremonies and private dinners at 15Hatfields.”