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By Cool Han

What is it like to feed 15,000 of the world's high-profile athletes, coaches, trainers? Grant Farmer, ARAMARK foodservice manager in the Olympic Village will share his insights with you.

“Yes I’m in charge of the Asian section, as you see it”. Grant Farmer, one manager of ARAMARK, catering contractor for the Beijing 2008 Olympics answered my question with confidence and smile. It was a rehearsal in the Olympic village where thousands of clients came into the catering center having lunch simultaneously just to test the “holding capacity” of this center.

Flied to China from Philadelphia, headquarter of ARAMARK just four days ago, it seemed to me that he had already got used to the new working environment in the Olympic village. “There are about three or four hundreds foreigners come across the world working here in the Olympic village. They are from everywhere, US, Canada…” And Grant is just one of them. As a manager, he shouldered the task of clarifying everybody's responsibilities in his team to ensure good service.“My daily routine will be to manage the food preparation for all the athletes in the Athletes’ Village. The most challenging part will be to make sure the food is prepared, delivered and served to the athletes in a timely manner.”

Black hat, blue shirt, interphone in hand, sunny smile on the face. Grant Farmer stood in front of his Asian Section in the catering center waiting for all kinds of questions from hundreds of his customers having lunch there. During our talk a Chinese young man came up to Grant and asked where he could get Roast beef. “By the way, are you from India?” He looked at Grant’s bronze-colored face. “Me? No, I’m from the United States.” That guy’s curiosity and wild guess definitely puzzled Grant, but he was pretty sure that “Chinese people are excellent and very nice people”. I’m sure he will soon be getting on well with his Chinese staff.

Beside foreign managers, all the Chinese faces behind very single counter, no matter Asian, Mediterranean or International, are college students majoring in cooking who joined Olympic service as assistants. Those polite, energetic and diligent young men and women, like their managers, all have charming smiles when they serve you and answer your questions.

Grant told me that ARAMARK has been chosen by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games to provide catering services for the Olympic Village, two media centers, and two media villages during the Olympics and Paralympics. So he and his colleagues are at the heart of the Olympics, literally. However, there are few things that could specifically reflect this company’s signature. They wear the same uniforms, provide standardized food and most importantly, they are no longer themselves—they represent Olympics.

During the two months period of the Olympics and Paralympics, Grant and his colleagues in the village will supply 3.5 million portions of food for the Olympic Village. During peak time they will serve 100,000 portions a day.

Being named to the 2008 Olympic team might be one of the biggest honors of his careers, and the opportunity to work with in such a unique setting will be exciting.

“Within my company you have to apply by application to be accepted and they choose the best applicants for the positions that are needed. My company chose me because I was the most qualified for the position that was needed for the Olympics.”

His favorite sport is American football and he likes a lot of ethnic dishes. Not surprisingly, he also found the food here in Beijing very good. He hoped to experience as much culture and the landscapes of both China and the Olympic communities as he could. But he told me he would work about five to six days (per week)and has little time to enjoy himself. “Yes I may have the chance to watch some games. But it depends.” He turned back and took a look at his staff––he definitely put his work into the first place.

So, let’s talk Turkey. When the athletes arrive in the Olympic Village, it will be the start of real business. Will they get any complaints from their clients? 12 years ago in Atlanta, the Australian team told the food service team that they “were going to get fat because the food was too good.” (Was that a complaint?)

Will our caterer meet all needs of 15,000 of the world's high-profile athletes, coaches, trainers? Will the foodservice operation be the talk of the village? “I'm confident about myself and my teams to provide the best quality service to the worlds athletes cause we are some of the best employees that our company has to offer.”

And there are always people asking whether the 2008 Olympics will be a success. Grant’s answer was: “Beijing Olympics is to be one of the best Olympics so far, with plenty of hard work and lots of fun.” And my answer is, seeing is believing. Welcome to Beijing and see it yourself.

   为世界上一万五千名顶级运动员,教练员提供餐饮服务会是什么样子? 格兰特•法尔蒙是爱玛客公司(北京奥运会餐饮服务提供商)的一位餐饮经理, 他会和你分享他的看法。

    “没错,正如你所看到的,我是负责亚洲风味的。” 格兰特•法尔蒙用自信和微笑回答了我的问题。他是爱玛客公司的一位经理,他们的公司承担了此次北京奥运会部分餐饮的运营和管理工作。那天是奥运村的一次预演活动,数千名顾客同时到奥运村主餐厅就餐,以此测验餐饮中心的承受能力。


    黑色工作帽,蓝色衬衫, 手握对讲机,面带灿烂的笑容。格兰特•法尔蒙站在亚洲风味区前面,等待回答中午过来进餐的顾客的各种提问。我们聊天的时候一个中国男孩子跑过来问格兰特哪里能找到烤牛排。“顺便问一句,你是印度人吗?”他看着格兰特古铜色的脸问道。“我吗?不,我是美国人。”那个男孩子的好奇和大胆猜测让格兰特很是疑惑,但他对一件事很确定:“中国人很棒,也很友好。”我想他和他的中国员工一定能很快就相处得很好的。








Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2008 22:35