Feeding a small army of workers

03:04, Apr 03 2014
Thomas Vernay
Thomas Vernay from France prepares the fresh herbs

Marlborough catering companies are flat out cooking decent home-cooked meals to keep vintage workers going throughout the day and night.

BV Gourmet co-owners Vicki Young and Janet Enright have a crew of 14 staff preparing hundreds of meals out of the kitchen in the Pernod Ricard building at Riverlands.

"At the peak of it, which has just come in this week, we cook 500 to 520 meals on average a day.

Eric Erdle
Eric Erdle from New York was in charge of the kitchen yesterday

"It can be quite stressful. Everyone is working very hard to make the demands to provide healthy meals."

They employed extra workers for the vintage meals season, Young said. Those workers were then split into two teams - one team dedicated to cooking and one team focused on the packing and delivery of the meals.

"It has been incredibly busy with lots of food to prepare and long hours.


Mattias Di-Mauro
Mattias Di-Mauro from France prepares the lemon tart

"[But the season is] quite short - about five to six weeks. We are at peak for about three weeks."

BV Gourmet try to meet the dietary requirements of all the workers, including vegetarian options, Young said.

The lead up to this season was always a busy time, involving tasks including ordering hundreds of sacks of potatoes and sorting out rubbish disposal, she said.

Thomas Vernay
Thomas Vernay

Posh Nosh Marlborough co-owners Steve Cattermole and Leanne Wilson said they were also catering for hundreds of vintage workers.

"We have capped at 300 a day because we still look after our corporate clients," Cattermole said.

"It's absolutely manic."

Andrew Pask
Andrew Pask from Blenheim can peel 10 kilos of potatoes in 15 minutes

They have served "home-style" meals for vintage workers for the last eight years, he said.

"We have a rotating menu so they don't have the same thing twice.

"We have adventurous menus - everything from curries to roasts."

Posh Nosh Marlborough cater for dietary and religious food requirements, he said.

He has three extra casual workers to help regular staff.

Essence Events owners Dave and Sarah Anderson have also been busy with vintage meals. Though not as busy as past years, Ms Anderson said.

"We are doing 120 [meals] a day. We've got two clients - Matua and Cloudy Bay.

"We have restricted it to our key clients this year."

They cook their vintage catering in their Redwoodtown kitchen.

"Each day we do a meal served with a side dish and a dessert. We always do a roast on Sunday.

"We try and give lots of variety. They pay a little more, but it is quality food."

They also cater for dietary requirements, with vegetarian options, Ms Anderson said.

"We do a full menu that changes every day to keep it quite balanced."

They employed four full-time chefs for the vintage meals, but keep other staff on to help out.

"Across the board, we keep our summer staff on longer to help out with vintage."

The Marlborough Express