A San Diego-based company will head to the Olympics for the ninth time this summer.
Behind the Scenes Catering was hired to make all the meals for the international broadcast media, and will manage nine locations providing hospitality services to the athletes and sponsors.
John Crisafulli, owner of Behind the Scenes Catering, said he expects to feed up to 16,000 people daily. Over the course of the entire Summer Olympics, his company will serve more than 950,000 meals.
Crisafulli, a native San Diegan, said he scored the paramount deal after meeting someone who was connected to NBC, the television company that broadcasts the games. The first Olympics his company catered was the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
But the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer presents its own set of challenges, Crisafulli said.
Crisafulli said his company, which is 26 years old, began preparing for the Summer Olympics about 14 months ago.
“We started about 14 months ago by going down and identifying which vendors we’re going to work with,” Crisafulli said. “We do a lot of background checks with the vendors. Rio is probably the biggest challenge because there is a lot of bureaucracy. It’s hard to get people to agree with contracts.”
Despite the challenges, Crisafulli said the most “spectacular” aspect of working at the Olympics is seeing so many people come together.
“We hire travelers, as well as, locals,” Crisafulli said. “It’s such an eclectic mix of people from all different countries, backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. It’s what the Olympics is all about —bringing people together for a common purpose.”
So what will the Olympians and all the behind-the-scenes participants eat?
Crisafulli said they’ll serve staples like hamburgers, pizza, salad and baked goods. But they’ll also serve meals typically found in Brazil such as shrimp bobo, farofa and feijoada. He said Brazilian dishes are typically served with rice and beans.
“We always introduce the local cuisines,” Crisafulli said. “It will all eventually come together.”
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