CATERING for thousands - President Michael D Higgins and the Prince of Sweden among them - requires an army, and Limerick company Masterchefs Hospitality assembled a battalion to feed the masses at the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway last week.
At the main corporate event in the 17 acre Global Village in Galway last Saturday, Pat O’Sullivan’s company had 240 people working in one room.
Masterchefs, who employ 100 people full time and nearly 200 on a part-time basis, hired more than 200 extra staff to cater for the event after winning the contract to supply food both at corporate level and to the general public.
In all the Masterchefs’ boss reckons they fed about 76,000 people over the course of the eight days of the gigantic maritime extravaganza.
“It went extraordinarily well, far better than we could have anticipated,” said a happy Pat O’Sullivan.
“There has been a huge public presence and even our pre-booked corporate hospitality has increased all during the week. It has been full on since we opened our doors and closed them at 8pm last night,” he added.
Serving everything from sandwiches to prawn starters, desserts to fillet of beef, Masterchefs, who provide catering services in the University of Limerick and Thomond Park, proved themselves at the top of their game in running the catering services for the Ocean Race.
“I would say we fed, between corporate hospitality - about 16,000 - and probably over 60,000 of the public. It is some machine and it runs like clockwork once you get the first couple of days under your belt, but we are good at this, this is what we do,” he explained.
“In Thomond Park we have demonstrated we have a head for numbers - we also run the bars there - so it is normal for us to be handling tens of thousands of people in various different roles. I think the fact that we have a reputation for being amongst the best in the business, especially when it comes to the higher end of the corporate market, helps.”
While it is unlikely that Limerick will host such a unique event as the finishing stage of the Volvo Ocean Race, the Masterchefs boss believes that the city could handle an event of a similar type.
“Yes, of course it could,” said Mr O’Sullivan. “The expertise is there - Limerick expertise has been brought to Galway to run this. The will is there, and I have noticed lately that people are starting to work together in Limerick, which is something I haven’t seen before.”