The Logistics Of A James Beard Dinner

MANHATTAN (September 29, 2011 - Ottawa Citizen)—By any measure, serving an impeccable dinner for 80 discerning New Yorkers in an internationally recognized culinary mecca is a highlight of any chef's career - one that each will remember a lifetime. And yet, their haute cuisine performance was not without big challenges. The solution was to involve Sysco, an international food and restaurant supply company, to handle the delivery. Ottawa chefs are familiar with the firm and figured it was best to leave brokering deliveries to the licensed people who do it every day.

But where to find a kitchen in New York City for the advance work of cutting, peeling, chopping, stockmaking and poaching to get everything ready a day before the big Saturday meal? Initially, chefs considered the Canadian consulate in midtown Manhattan, which had a kitchen they could use. But when the giant catering operation Great Performances offered space on Hudson Street that was much closer to the Beard House, the chefs jumped at the chance.

With Sysco shipping the goodies, everything in Ottawa would be trucked to to lower Manhattan where chefs could spend a productive Friday getting everything ready.

Sounded perfect. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

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