Nurturing Health and Wellbeing at Events

15th April 2024

Rising consciousness of health and wellness has led to a range of innovations at ICC Sydney in recent years – from pop-up bars serving non-alcoholic drinks and more diverse food offerings to Indigenous-storytelling sessions for staff.  

The introduction of a non-alcoholic spritz bar has been a huge hit with delegates who want to socialise responsibly, with offerings such as Pink Cloud kombucha and cold pressed juice blends. Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits are also served in mocktails at dedicated bars at events, while an alcohol-free craft beer sourced from a First Nations supplier, Sobah Beer, has also proven popular.   

ICC Sydney food and beverage manager/sommelier William Wilson believes it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends. “No and low-alcohol styles are especially popular with younger attendees,” he says. “Our biggest-selling cocktail is the Lyre’s Amalfi Spritz, and zero-alcohol beers have replaced our mid-to low-alcohol options.” 

As far as alcoholic drinks go, sparkling wine is the venue’s fastest-growing product. “It’s always been popular for our cocktail party events and now a lot of guests at dinners don’t move onto our white and red wines when they sit down, and our Theatre guests seem to love prosecco,” Wilson says. “We are constantly asked for sustainable wines as well, with plenty of options on our list from producers who are certified with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, along with organic and biodynamic labels.”  

When it comes to food, vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian options are in increasing demand, with around 30 per cent of ICC Sydney’s menu collection now comprising dishes that cater for people with dietary requirements. “These dishes often provide an added benefit of being gluten free,” ICC Sydney executive chef Rakesh Pillai says. 

Feeding Your Performance

ICC Sydney has a ‘Feeding Your Performance’ philosophy, offering ‘smart’ menus comprising fresh, seasonal and ethically sourced ingredients designed to drive physical and mental performance. Products include chemical-free honey from pioneering small business Malfroy’s Gold and Natural Beekeeping Australia, sustainably caught seafood from Getfish at Sydney Fish Market, and oysters from the Hawkesbury River, on the city’s northern outskirts.   

Pillai says he loves working with small, local suppliers and being in a position to connect them with ICC Sydney’s large audience. “We use Pepe Saya butter in our baking and serve it at our dining tables – our clients often remark that it tastes sensational and it’s because the cows are grass-fed and it is the high quality of the ingredients that ensures the flavour is unsurpassed,” he says. 

“Similarly, we buy from Bondi Yoghurt, who use Jersey milk and other all-natural ingredients. Their products are free from additives and preservatives, all loaded with gut-helping probiotics.” Pillai also enjoys introducing clients – especially those from overseas – to kangaroo meat. “They are often surprised and delighted with its tenderness, and we love sharing how this ‘greener, cleaner’ option benefits our health and the planet,” he says.  

Event organisers can also build in wellness offerings like yoga and tai chi, with classes taking place on the large Event Deck. Mental health and wellbeing is also a priority for the ICC Sydney team, with employees offered mental health first aid training and the chance to attend monthly Yarning Circles in partnership with non-profit Indigenous organisation KARI Foundation, which include activities such as weaving, dancing and storytelling.   

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