A logistic tour-de-force: catering at the International Supply Chain Conference 2019
The Estrel Berlin with its 25,000 square metres of available event space is an ideal location for large-scale events. Its motto, “meeting, living, entertainment – everything under one roof”, guarantees that thousands of guests can easily be accommodated. However, the Estrel’s unrivalled reputation in putting on extra-large functions extends well beyond its own four walls. Location scouting, catering, event engineering and programme design: The ECC expertly handles every aspect of off-site event logistics, no matter what the occasion or scale.
The evening gala of the International Supply Chain Conference 2019, held at the Arena Berlin this October, was a major logistical feat: The evening’s lighting and sound required 1,140 meters of rigging, 156 generators and 509 spotlights to be transported from the Estrel to the event venue. 18,000 glasses, 8,500 bowls and plates and 20,500 pieces of cutlery also had to make their way to and from the Arena Berlin.
The Estrel chefs prepared 6,000 canapés, which awaited guests on arrival, and 600 kg of salad as well as a 300 kg selection of ragouts for the Indian buffet. Guests were also treated to 100 kg of shoulder of lamb and 4,000 pieces of sushi. An impressive total of 22 lorry trips were needed to convey the extensive array of food, drinks and equipment from the Estrel to the Arena Berlin. The kitchen team comprised two executive chefs and a team of 14 Estrel chefs, plus a further 41 on-site agency chefs. 120 catering staff worked front-of-house to ensure guests received the highest possible standard of service, while 50 engineers and 30 assistants were hard at work behind the scenes.
A one-stop solution
At the Estrel, time-consuming logistical processes are streamlined, making complex events such as these a piece of cake to organise and execute. Every client is allocated an in-house contact who keeps an eye on all aspects of organisation and manages our seasoned Estrel teams. Long-standing relationships between clients and contacts are the basis of collaborations event organisers can count on. Daniela Scholz, the Estrel’s Director of Conventions and Events, headed catering logistics for the gala at the Arena Berlin, having worked closely with the event organiser, Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL), for almost 20 years. Scholz coordinates all departments involved in the event, from engineering, kitchens and service through to decoration and entertainment.Aside from logistics and the transport of a large quantity of equipment that has to be both assembled and dismantled, a major challenge in large-scale catering is upholding the quality of the dishes. Even at an event hosting 1,600 guests, providing a diverse range of fresh, hygienically-prepared food is key.
The experts in XXL events
The Estrel, Europe’s largest hotel, congress and entertainment center, has proved itself time and again as the experts in large-scale catering. Every year, 1,800 events take place at the Estrel, many of them extra-large functions boasting over 1,000 guests. For the Estrel, preparing buffets and serving set menus for up to 2,000 guests is par for the course.Eight of the 17 in-house Estrel kitchens are situated in the Estrel Congress Center itself. Four production and four serving kitchens are spread over two floors, providing warm and cold dishes and desserts. Dishes are prepared using the “cook-chill” method, entailing rigorous temperature documentation of refrigeration units and ingredients. This allows the Estrel to provide large quantities of healthy, nutritious food without sacrificing quality,
Food hygiene comes first
The Estrel has an in-house public health officer dedicated to ensuring strict hygiene regulations are met. Four specially-fitted refrigeration lorries, used by the Estrel for their off-site catered events to make sure the refrigeration chain is not broken, were employed to transport cold menu items directly to the buffet table in the Arena Berlin in preparation for the evening gala. On-site chefs put the finishing touches to warm dishes using bespoke regeneration ovens - also provided by the Estrel – to ensure they could be served to the gala’s guests at the perfect temperature.