Delaware North, the exclusive caterer for the new Wembley Stadium, has ended its lengthy search for an executive chef, Caterer can reveal.
After a hunt lasting more than six months, the company, which has a 25-year contract with Wembley, has appointed Frank Coughlan to oversee the food offering at the stadium, which is hosting the FA Cup final this Saturday (19 May).
Coughlan, who will take up the his new role in July, is currently executive chef with Facilities Management Catering, the catering arm of the sports and leisure division of Compass Group. He has responsibility for catering at the tennis championships at Wimbledon, and last year oversaw the Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland.
The Irish-born chef will oversee a team of 39 full-time staff, boosted by up to 3,000 casual workers during major events. He replaces previous executive chef Stephen Wheeler, who left late last year.
Simon Dobson, operations manager at Delaware North UK, told Caterer he was pleased the search is over. "It's been difficult to find someone with the right experience that we require, who has a background of providing the kind of quality food we're after and the management skills to run a place this size," he said. "I'm certain we've found the right man in Frank Coughlan, and while he is serving his notice period at Compass, we look forward to starting work with him in July."
Wembley Stadium, which will be one of the biggest catering sites in Europe, includes the 950-cover Atrium restaurant, the great hall and banquet space for up to 1,500 people, and four signature restaurants of 650 covers each. It also features two Champagne and seafood bars and two large, free-flow public catering areas, 162 private boxes, two super boxes and a royal suite for up to 400 people.
By Kerstin Kühn