Corporate Interview: Mob discusses sustainability, inclusivity and the importance of food-centred events

Lara Owen Reporter, C&IT
Corporate Interview: Mob discusses sustainability, inclusivity and the importance of food-centred events

C&IT spoke to Mob Kitchen’s Senior Events Manager, Jack Parton, about overcoming the issue of food waste and the role of cooking in making an event inclusive.

Senior Events Manager for Mob Kitchen, Jack Parton, told C&IT the attraction of working for small businesses in events, “I’ve always struggled with the idea of being a cog in the machine, the joys of working for Mob and a small business means you have a whole host of responsibilities that really vary.” 

Before Parton joined Mob, the brand “was very much a food media company, now we’re a food media and events company. Being able to build a whole new department within Mob was really special and an events department was the vital thing missing.” 

Parton explained how inclusivity should be a top priority for every event planner, and making an event food-centred but not cuisine-specific is a great way to channel inclusive thinking; “Food goes beyond eating, it’s what every community is built on. Food is a platform for inclusivity and bringing communities together. That’s why food-centred events allow a real bridge for connecting cultures.”

Whilst Parton noted the privilege of having a depth and breadth of duties, he also discussed the challenges of holding immense responsibility within a small business, noting, “The bigger the event, the more risks amplify, and the damage can be catastrophic.”

The biggest difficulty Mob has encountered in their event history was late 2022, “Mob Live was supposed to be our headline show for 2022, with music, food, comedy, podcasts - the biggest event we’d ever done. Then one week before, the venue called me and they’d had their licence taken away. It was gutting to not see our vision come to life. We weighed up other options but ultimately it was never going to transpire how we’d wanted it to and we didn’t want to put an event on that wasn’t perfect for our brand. So we took a step back and decided to regroup and bring an event we’re proud of in 2023.”

Whilst last minute external disasters are uncontrollable, Parton discussed the issues that are consistent and can be controlled within your corporation; “A major sustainability hurdle that a lot of event planners encounter is food waste. As a food media and events brand this has always been a pertinent issue but we have always regulated waste.”

Parton drew attention to the advantages of food vans, noting “In food vans, a lot is made on the spot so it’s easy not to over make. For Mob, our dishes are almost always eaten, whether that’s staff taking it home, dropping it to a food bank or getting it collected.”

When discussing what the food events industry was missing, Parton noted, “I think a lot of food festivals lack identity, because of the nature of the beast a lot of the money is in brand partnerships, which can take the soul out of these events.” 

Parton explained that food festivals must reclaim their brand and identity in order to produce the best content possible for attendees, “The dream and a goal for me is a food festival that offers the whole package in terms of its entertainment, meaningful education - holding masterclasses and Q&A’s - and unifying global cookery that links cultures, heritage and people in one place.”