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Feeding the crews

 

 

After almost 20 days at sea, eating nothing but freeze-dried food, you might think a meal made from fresh ingredients would be high on a sailor’s wish list.

 

But one of the first requests has been for less healthy options – pizza and burgers.

 

“There will of course be plenty of good New Zealand fruit and vegetables available too,” says Alex Weatherhead, Director of Austin’s Food Design Events who have the catering contract for the Auckland Stopover. “The pizzas and burgers will only be served once a day. All of our food is locally sourced. The meat comes from a little further afield, but still within the North Island.”

 

The crews and shore teams comprise a variety of nationalities but Weatherhead says they have had no requests for special dietary requirements.

 

“There may be some that we haven’t heard about, but we do design menus to cover all possible options. For example, we don’t put bacon in the Caesar salad, all dressings are served on the side, and there’s always plenty of bread. Vegetarian meals can be easily constructed from any of the other offerings,” says Weatherhead. “There’s no particular Kiwi theme as such. We just use the best quality local products, and try to showcase good wholesome New Zealand food.”

 

Only five of the six crews will be catered for by Austin’s – Emirates Team New Zealand’s entry CAMPER has its own base and associated eating arrangements.

 

Even so, Austin’s will be supplying up to 200 lunches and 200 dinners a day for the duration of the Stopover. The numbers are made up of the boat crews (nine sailors per boat plus a media crew member for each) plus the land-based shore crews.

 

Austin’s are well-equipped to service such an event. Although this is not the largest they have ever attempted, it is one of the longest – most functions requiring expert catering are only one day, or two at the most.

 

The crew catering is based in the Viaduct Events Centre, under the control of Maggie Weatherhead, Austin’s Managing Director. She currently oversees a staff of about 10 but when the Race Village is in full swing, this will rise to 40. They will be looking after not just the crew, but also the corporate hospitality in the Latitude Lounge on the top floor of the VEC.

 

And as for the numbers of bread rolls, lettuces and steaks needed for such a large undertaking – that’s another story.

 

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