San Diego Catering Company Prepares For The Olympic Games
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Aired 10/17/13 on KPBS News.
San Diego-based Behind the Scenes catering company will supply food for thousands of people at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
In November, 25 employees from Behind the Scenes catering company will be leaving San Diego and heading to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The company, based in Mira Mesa, has received a catering contract from NBC to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for broadcast media and corporate sponsors at the games in February.
John Crisafulli, president of Behind the Scenes, estimates they will be serving 12,000 meals a day to about 5,000 people in Sochi.
The location of Sochi presents some unique challenges to Crisafulli. It is a developing town with limited local resources. The closest traditional grocery store is seven miles away from the Olympic Village.
“Here in the U.S. I think we’re spoiled, we get so used to running down to the corner store or warehouse store to buy what we want in quantity. It just doesn’t exist there,” Crisafulli said.
Crisafulli said he will have to import 95 percent of the food, beverages and supplies they will need in Sochi and will be shipping over 50 containers of products from San Diego.
“We’re shipping in pretty much all of our products. It’s like taking 5,000 people camping for two months,” Crisafulli said.
Crisafulli said he aims to please everyone he serves, but a city’s culture and personal preferences can make that a challenge.
"People are very particular so we're catering to people's likes and dislikes, so you've got to be creative in how you approach that," Crisafulli said. "Even while we were working on the Olympic Games in Italy we were getting complaints from one particular production manager because we weren’t cooking the pasta like his mama cooked it."
Behind the Scenes has also received a contract to cater the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The summer games will be the company's ninth Olympics.