Feeding the media crowd

14 June 2002 by
Feeding the media crowd

When Wood Hall Catering originally took on the job of providing catering for TV crews reporting on the Queen Mother's funeral, it was under contract to ITN for 40 people, from Thursday 4 April to the day of the funeral itself, Tuesday 9 April.

However, the company ended up providing catering for 300 media who worked for all the TV stations including BBC, CNN, ITN, Granada, Sky and Carlton.

Carl Lindsay, Group Operations Manager, Wood Hall Catering, said: "We've been on standby for four years for this job to provide catering for TV crews covering the Queen Mother's funeral. We only knew on the Thursday before that we would be required to provide catering for 300 people instead of 40 - and we never say no! We worked closely with all our suppliers to deliver what was needed quickly. We didn't have any rehearsals like the military did!"

Traffic jam

One of the biggest challenges for Wood Hall Catering was that the roads in the area were closed early, which meant they couldn't move their catering trucks in or out. Carl says: "On some days, the roads were closed as early as 4pm. So our staff delivered 160 packed lunches on foot all round London and Westminster to camera crews. The packed lunches were stored in cold boxes which they carried round with them."

Camera crews were supplied packed lunches, as they were unable to leave their cameras. These packed lunches were supplied by Ferraris, and comprised a sandwich, piece of fruit, yogurt and water.

Wood Hall Catering laid on breakfast (starting at 5am), lunch and supper for the television media, all cooked from catering trucks based opposite Buckingham Palace. Marquees were set up so people could sit down and have their meals.

Field kitchen

The catering trucks, used by the catering company are almost like kitchens on wheels, with the latest equipment from manufacturers such as Falcon, Zanussi and Hobart.

Mickey Cox, head chef, recalls: "The job was hectic, but it was good to be there and be a part of such an historic event. I was pleased to experience it. As the roads were closed off early, we received deliveries at 2am from some suppliers as that was the only way they were going to get the goods to us. Some suppliers went to the market at midnight and then came on straight to us. Most meals were freshly made on the trucks. With the help of the suppliers and staff, it all went smoothly."

KB Seafoods, supplied fresh fish such as salmon, tuna, swordfish, cod, as well as ready-made cheesecakes and gateaux and items like samosas.

All dry goods came from DBC Foodservice, such as bottles of water, biscuits, tea, assorted fruit juices, coffee, cheese and tinned commodities. Ingredients from DBC which were used to make Dutch apple crumble with cream or custard included sultanas, tinned apples and custard powder.

Disposable items such as paper plates, knives and forks, were from Malsarkest.

The butcher used was Focus International, while the greengrocer was Carmen Cuisine.

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