If you have been busy preparing food for guests over Easter, spare a thought for the caterers working at GC2018.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games are expected to draw 1.5 million spectators, a 40,000-strong workforce, 15,000 volunteers, and 6,600 athletes, team officials, family and press, all of whom need to be fed.
With athletes from 71 nations and territories, (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Caribbean, Europe and Oceania), their dietary requirements and preferences are diverse. Different athletes have different dietary needs, so sports nutritionists and team coaches have been consulted to cater for them.
Brisbane-based Zen Catering, with a staff of 1,200 employed for GC2018, will provide food and beverages at nine venues, looking after athletes, corporate hospitality and patrons visiting the Games. 20,000 meals will be provided daily for athletes from the Games Village kitchen.
In addition, 150,000 meals will be provided to Games Shapers (staff, volunteers and contractors) throughout GC2018.
Catered venues include Coolangatta beachfront for volleyball; Currumbin for road cycling and race walking; Broadbeach for lawn bowls; Gold Coast Aquatic Centre for swimming and diving; Southport Broadwater Precinct overseeing the triathlon and marathon; Gold Coast Hockey Centre for field hockey; Nerang Velodrome for downhill mountain biking; Oxenford for boxing, table tennis and squash; and the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre for gymnastics and the netball grand final!
Besides the sporting arena, major arts and cultural events such as the collaborative Festival 2018 and Bleach Festival, (some events involving food), will take place in the first half of April 2018.
Other food events are also taking place across the region. From NightQuarter’s ‘festival of flavours’ including street food eats and a massive line up of music to The Balcony Bar Byron Bay’s Crab Carnival 2018 overseen by renowned chef Sean Connolly, many restaurants and venues are reaching out to engage visitors with the region.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games aims to be a festival of sustainable food for GC2018 and beyond, showcasing the richness of our regional produce and cuisine, promoting our unique indigenous food, inspiring healthier and more ethical eating habits including responsible consumption and minimal food waste, and inspiring innovation within the food industry.
Hopefully, the experience of GC2018 shown to the world will contribute to a long-term increase in tourism, business and cultural exchange, with people eager to savour the flavours of our region beyond the Games.
NOTE: This article was published in The Sun on 10 April 2018.