Chef Sam Garden

Sodexo Live! and Rum Room Launch Sustainability Project with Herb and Vegetable Garden at Miami Beach Convention Center


MIAMI BEACH, FL (March 2, 2023) – Sodexo Live! and soon-to-open Rum Room restaurant and Venu event space at the Miami Beach Convention center (MBCC) have announced the launch of a new Sustainability Project – Herb & Vegetable Garden, organized with Compost for Life Miami. The composting community initiative takes leftover organics from the conventions and events that take place at the Miami Beach Convention Center and turns them into compost. This compost is then used at the herb and vegetable garden, creating a sustainable food system that reduces waste and provides real garden-to-table dining for Rum Room patrons.

The herb and vegetable garden is located just outside Rum Room and Venu on the Miami Beach Convention Center campus. In February 2023, Sodexo Live!’s Executive Chef Samantha Cruz and team worked together to build the garden. The goal was to create a calm environment for the culinarians and team to tend to and nurture, while also educating the staff on gardening and sustainable practices.

“We’re thrilled to bring this garden to life at Rum Room and Venu to not only have access to fresh vegetables for our dishes, but to also extend our sustainability program at the convention center into these two new spaces in an exciting way,” said Danny Medina, Regional Vice President, Sodexo Live!.  

The garden consists of 192 square feet of herb and vegetable beds and features organic soil mixed with compost from the convention center's composting program. The vegetables currently planted in the garden include carrots, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and peppers which are expected to be in full harvest by late July or early August.  The vegetables will be used on the Rum Room, and Venu menus for guests to enjoy, and foliage will be added to table garnishes and decorations.

The Sustainability Project – Herb & Vegetable Garden also involved sourcing wood pallets from food shipments and recycling them into the garden structure. It took approximately 10 days to clear, level, and build the garden from plywood. Solar-powered lights were installed on the wooden fence surrounding the garden.

Chef Samantha Cruz, who has 12 years of experience in fine dining and sports entertainment hospitality, is the new Executive Chef for the Rum Room and Venu event space. Rum Room ( is an indoor and outdoor 80-seat restaurant with Old World and tropical 1920s Florida decor and an upscale menu that draws on both Florida’s history and Miami’s Haitian and Latin and Central American influences.

This latest project from Sodexo Live!, Rum Room and Venu event space is part of the MBCC’s sustainability program in collaboration with the MBCC’s venue management company OVG360.

The reimagined Miami Beach Convention Center is committed to supporting sustainability and climate change actions as part of its corporate social responsibility program, as well as resiliency initiatives in the City of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County by incorporating environmentally friendly building features and sustainable business practices for all meetings, tradeshows, events, conferences, and conventions held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. For more information, please visit

The MBCC is located at 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139. Rum Room is on the northeast corner of the MBCC Campus Center, where Washington Avenue meets Dade Boulevard. Venu is located in the 1916-built former Miami Beach Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse at 2100 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139.


About Miami Beach Convention Center

Re-imagined following a $620-million-dollar renovation, the expanded MBCC includes a new 60,000 square-foot Grand Ballroom, four junior ballrooms, almost 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, an expanded Grand Lobby, pre-function areas that are bathed in natural light, up to 84 breakout rooms, approximately 800 roof deck parking spaces, almost 2,100 miles of cabling to support all IT communications, $10.2 million dollars’ worth of art curated by the City of Miami Beach Art in Public Places program and a six-acre (Pride Park) and three-acre (Collins Canal Park) public green spaces that can serve as incremental event space. The MBCC Campus includes two new event spaces: Venu, a space for elegant private events and upscale meetings, and Rum Room, a 1920s restaurant with an enticing tapas-style menu and local South Florida rums. The MBCC is proud to have earned Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ Facility Accreditation, and LEED® Silver Certification as part of the venue’s $620-million-dollar expansion project, which includes many environmentally friendly features.  

About Sodexo Live!

Sodexo Live! manages prestigious conference, cultural, and sporting venues and major events all over the world. With 40,000 employees and 500 sites, Sodexo Live! offers clients a range of bespoke catering, sales, and event management services, helping to transform the consumer experience into unforgettable memories. Sodexo Live! commits to unlocking customers’ full potential while favoring local communities. Sodexo Live! contributes to the success of prestigious events such as Royal Ascot, the Tour de France, the Rugby World Cup, and soon the Paris 2024 Games, and showcases exceptional venues such as the Eiffel Tower Restaurants, Bateaux Parisiens, Yachts de Paris, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the Hard Rock Stadium, the Scottish National Gallery, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

About OVG360

OVG360, a division of Oak View Group, is a full-service venue management and hospitality company that helps client partners reimagine the sports, live entertainment, and convention industries to better the venue, employees, artists, athletes, and surrounding communities. With a portfolio of more than 200 client partners spanning arenas, stadiums, convention centers, performing arts centers, cultural institutions, and state fairs around the globe, OVG360 provides services, resources, and expertise designed to elevate every aspect of business that matters to venue operators. Service-oriented and driven by social responsibility, OVG360 helps facilities drive value through excellence and innovation in food services, booking and content development, sustainable operations, public health, public safety, and more.