Local caterers say servicing CWC was great experience
By Nicosia Smith
April 12, 2007
Guyana's catering industry dished out food of international quality and standards for over two weeks, as the country hosted Cricket World Cup officials, seven CWC teams and the international media during the Super Eight matches here.
Hundreds of lunches, snacks and dinners were consumed by teams, officials and media (TOMs) during the six Super Eight CWC matches and the contracted caterers had the proud task of delivering loads of delicacies from March 28 to April 9.
Waterchris Hotel and Bar, at 184 Waterloo Street and Wind Jammer International Cuisine & Comfort Inn at Queen Street, Kitty were among the local contracted catering services that saw to the dietary needs of the TOMs.
Managing Director of Waterchris Gregory Lewis told Stabroek News that his catering service was contracted by the Goddard Catering Group in Barbados to provide meals at the official practice session venues and on match days at the Cricket Stadium. Goddard, the official CWC caterer began its operations in Barbados in 1954. It also has the distinction of catering for some 44 international airlines including regional ones and operates in 23 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Fruits, sandwiches and juices were provided by Waterchris at some 25 practice sessions to 30 -40 individuals at these sessions. And on match days 62 individuals inclusive of the teams and officials were served special buffet lunches, snacks and juices designed to meet prescribed meal packages by dietitians. If oil was to be used it was pure olive oil. However foods were mostly steamed and included two lean-cut meats steamed or baked, fresh bread rolls, soups, vegetables, potatoes, rice and various salads. This catering contract demanded very high standards and professionalism, according to Lewis, and the outlet was able to serve up the quality. In addition, the experience gained catering to international teams like Australia, South Africa and the West Indies in the past, Lewis said, was an asset. Waterchris has also catered for regional air carriers.
Additional service staff were contracted to meet the extra demand but no additional cooks were hired. Some 20 persons gained employment through Waterchris as a result of this catering contract, according to Lewis. He said those being catered for were surprised at the quality of service provided by all the contracted caterers.
He said there was an ample supply of fruits, vegetables and other inputs from Waterchris's normal suppliers.
"The entire experience was good," Managing Director of Wind Jammer Carey Griffith said. This institution, through a recommendation from a local source, was able to gain the nod for the Goddard contract.
Griffith told this newspaper that Wind Jammer secured a contract to provide meals daily to four skyboxes at the stadium. Stabroek News understands that bids were entered for these skyboxes by various companies and these spots cost well over $2M and included served meals and liquor for the entire day on all six match days.
Griffith said Wind Jammer catered for local skybox holders like Edward B. Beharry and Company and Banks DIH along with a Trinidad and Tobago and New York-based companies.
Wind Jammer catered to over 50 persons daily on all six match days. Bajan Chef Mark Pheefoon was hired for three weeks along with six to seven additional local staff to fulfil the requirements of the contract.
"It was a great learning experience," Griffith said.
Over the last two years Wind Jammer has catered for birthdays, weddings, corporate and private dinners, but Griffith admitted that CWC was the biggest event ever, although it was noted that the institution has catered for larger numbers.
The contract, he said, certainly added to the earnings in catering income this year, but he noted that the knockout of India and Pakistan meant that they were not able to receive the numbers they were expecting.
The exit of the Indian team from the CWC, led to two Indian companies, which had earlier signalled their intention of occupying two skyboxes not following through. Wind Jammer had been scheduled to cater for the two Indian skyboxes.
The Carnegie School of Home Economics, also through a contract from Goddard, catered to the large batch of international media professionals. Efforts to solicit a comment from officials at the school proved futile.