The Savoy Lecture has always been the keynote event in Arena’s calendar and this year was no exception as Jan Matthews, Head of Catering, Cleaning & Waste Services, LOCOG regaled us with the unfathomable scope of the Olympic catering challenge. A task of epic proportions, it is in fact the largest peace-time catering operation in the world, so with 128 days to go, we were lucky she found a window in her busy schedule to address the Arena audience (Jellybean included).
Entitled “Catering for the 2012 Games: Myths, Legends and Legacies” Jan admitted she was more nervous about the lecture than the actual games, but you would never have known, as she reeled off a list of astounding facts and figures including that there will be – 31 competition venues, 955 competition sessions,160,000 workforce, 23,900 athletes and team officials, 20,600 broadcasters and press, 4,800 Olympic and Paralympic family, 9 million ticket sales and 14 million meals served (only 9% of those by MacDonald’s)! Add to that the scale of the food quantities for the Olympic Village – 25,000 loaves of bread, 232 tonnes of potatoes, more than 82 tonnes of seafood (MSC and MCS), 31 tonnes of poultry items (all Red Tractor), more than 100 tonnes of meat (again all Red Tractor), 75,000 litres of milk (all organic),19 tonnes of eggs (all with the British Lion Mark), 21 tonnes of cheese and more than 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and you would be forgiven for thinking she must be wondering what she has got herself into!
Central to the whole operation is the food vision document http://www.london2012.com/documents/locog-publications/food-vision.pdf Working with The Russell Partnership, who we are privileged to count amongst our enviable client list, Jan and the key stakeholders have created a vision for the catering and waste operation which is already being used as a template for other events around the world. Covering food safety and hygiene, choice and balance, food sourcing and supply chain, environmental management and skills and education, this vision has formed the backbone of the whole operation. Funnily enough however it was the small things you would never have considered that were perhaps most fascinating, for example the fact that rolls with poppy seed toppings cannot be served in the Olympic Village as they can skew a doping test! Who knew!?
As the first event back at the Savoy after its stunning revamp, the inspirational videos and even the Olympic Torch all helped to bring the anticipation around the games to life and I challenge anyone to have walked away not just a little bit proud to be British. Of course the start of the games may be 126 days away now, but the catering operation will be starting to feed the uniform distribution staff in April, so by the time the games begin the project will already be in full swing. As the eyes of the world turn to London 2012 with the catering in the hands of the likes of Jan and The Russell Partnership I’m sure we will do Britain proud! Just as the team at Arena and the Savoy did last night with a wonderful evening and a fabulous meal – well done!
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