The option of self-cooking regularly comes up in planning discussions for DebConf.
Typically the reason is to avoid an expensive contract for commercial catering.
What is actually involved? What facilities are required? What are the risks?
 Hybrid solutions
Given the time-intensive nature of self-cooking, it may be prohibitive for 3 meals per day. Just cooking 1 meal per day may reduce the budget though.
For example, while exploring the Interlaken option for DC13, it was discovered that
- hostel can provide breakfast in room rate
- one meeting venue allows free use of BBQ/grill facilities, possibly useful for lunch
- commercial catering could be used for evening meal
Therefore, it should not be assumed that any discussion of self-cooking means cooking and cleaning 3 times per day.
 Partners and families
Many low-budget non-profit organisations, particularly those involving sport, try to involve families in their events.
One result of this is that some partners may volunteer some of their time to do shopping and food preparation and even cleaning up.
However, this raises interesting questions for DebConf:
- should partners be sponsored if they provide non-Debian assistance (e.g. cooking)?
- must DebConf seek venues large enough to accommodate partners? The DC13 bid (Vaumarcus) has a 300 person ceiling, and it is feared that partners displace regular conference participants.
 Food and facility options
 Sandwiches/lightweight lunches
Requires access to a bakery to provide bread and a clean place for preparation.
 Bulk foods
Pasta, rice and vegatables cooked in large quantity using commercial kitchen facilities
 BBQ and grill
Equipment can be rented and used outdoors. Some venues have such facilities.
 Risks: hygiene, contamination
Professional caterers are normally used to taking proper precautions for transporting, storing and preparing large quantities of food.
People who do not make such arrangements regularly may run into trouble, for example, if a large quantity of meat is thawed too early or too late.
 Cleaning duties (and disposable items)
Nobody likes cleaning.
Some people are willing to accept the use of disposable plates and utensils. However, such practices usually attract criticism on environmental grounds.
Remember e.g., Muslim and vegan users.