77,000 slices of bacon, 28,000 beef burgers, 14,000 fillets of MSC haddock, 1,000 rolls of butter, 220kg of sliced ham and 200kg of artisan cheese, along with delicacies like dulse and eels, are just some of the delicious ingredients that have been locally sourced by Sodexo for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Award-winning Sodexo chef Fritz Machala ‘teed off’ at a photocall in Ormeau Golf Club in Belfast to highlight the company’s support of local food suppliers, which include the North Coast Smokehouse, Abernethy Butter, Ballylisk Dairies, Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil, Burren Balsamics, Irish Black Butter, Lough Neagh Eel, Morellis Ice cream, Causeway Prime Meats and the French Village Bakery.
It’s the twentieth year for Sodexo looking after The Open and the team has been planning for the Royal Portrush venue for over 18 months. All the public retail, on-course and hospitality catering went on Sunday and continues until 21 July.
1,200 staff from Northern Ireland, Scotland and England were recruited to serve more than 215,000 expected visitors over the seven-day major Championship. In addition, 20 individuals from the Prince’s Trust have been employed on-site, benefiting from training, mentoring, support and valuable work experience to provide future job prospects post-Open.
Stephen Frost is an executive head chef for Sodexo’s Sports & Leisure division and an Open ‘veteran’. He said, “Catering for an event as prestigious and world-famous as The Open is an intensive almost 24-hour a day operation that has to run like clockwork over the seven days.
'We’ll be serving over 20,000 meals in the private hospitality areas and around 100,000 meals in the public areas. We’ll also be catering for 750 media personnel covering the event and roughly the same number of external contractors like florists, electricians, technical and design teams, along with 5,000 lunch bags for security, police and pay gate staff.'
Sodexo is the catering partner of The R&A, which organises and stages The Open. Both organisations are committed to supporting local food businesses in the region of the host venues as part of the GreenLinks sustainability programme for The Open.
The initiative incorporates procurement policies that focus on ethically and sustainably sourced food and drink, such as MSC haddock and Fairtrade tea, coffee, sugar, hot chocolate and bananas. Wherever possible, the catering team also buy from local suppliers to deliver a broad range of menu choices that reflect the regional cuisine.
Philip Russell, Assistant Director – Sustainability at The R&A, said, “Our GreenLinks programme forms an important part of The Open and ensures that we address the broad range of sustainability considerations required to stage a major global sporting event.
“We are delighted to be working alongside these local businesses and suppliers to offer tens of thousands of fans a wide range of delicious regional food and drink to enjoy when they come to Royal Portrush.”