By James Cowling, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 12 – In the middle of a lunch-time frenzy at the Athletes’ Village on Sunday, the catering manger announced loudly and proudly that staff had just served meal number 100,000 of the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
While Tristan Allen of catering firm Eurest was working in the kitchen, he yelled out, “We’ve just hit 100,000 meals,” and cheers of delight followed.
The staff at the village serve an average of 3,000 people at every meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Allen said he was proud of the milestone for everyone involved.
“Fantastic achievement for the team and for PNG I think,” Allen said.
“It’s really great, a big effort to get everything here and organised. We’re only midway through (the Games) as well so there’s plenty more to come.”
He said there have been a long list of challenges that he and his team have had to overcome.
“For us, its largely a national crew which is a very proud thing for us,” Allen said.
“We’ve managed to get in 18 apprentices that we’ve just trained beforehand for six months. We’ve brought them in, so this is their first big gig of cooking, so (they’re) still green and learning.”
“It’s a real lasting legacy for PNG. Afterwards they’re qualified chefs that can have this under their hat.”
With so many people to feed at every meal, Allen said the staff still hasn’t sent anyone home hungry.
“We actually had projections for 4,000 (people per meal), so 3,500 to 3,000 per service has helped in a way.”
Although he said running the meal services was extremely tiring, things have now settled down.
“The first week was the hardest. Now everyone is in the rhythm. I think the energy and the buzz of all the crowd has certainly helped the staff along.”
The saving grace: “I get a few hours of sleep in between services now,” Allen added.