Local Catering company XS Food proudly ‘carbo loaded’ the thousands of competitors and their partners for the recent Ironman. Owners Craig and Rachel Freudenstein tell us about the experience.
The Ironman is a huge event for Port Macquarie. How did you land the catering contract?
Firstly, we successfully managed the catering for the 2011 Ironman. After securing a meeting with the organisers of Ironman, in which we discussed our extensive experience and menus for the athletes appropriate to the particular dinners, we put forward a tender for the event. In addition to our experience and in the spirit of keeping things as local as possible, Ironman Australia accepted our tender.
What are the logistics involved in feeding almost 5,000 people?
Well, it’s a marathon for us as much as the althetes! Our preparation and planning starts many months before the event, just like the athletes’ training. We have to plan menus, ordering the food and equipment, arrange staff, do costings, prepare time lines, assign the right staff to the right tasks, and prepare food. It’s worth it in the end; we are so proud of what our business, XS Food, has achieved over the last 2 years.
We’ve got great local suppliers in our region. What local suppliers did you use?
It’s very important to our business to use locally sourced food and products. We have such an amazing variety of quality produce in the Hastings Region! This year, we have exclusively used local producers, including Pye Provedores, Growers Market, BIG Hospitality supplies, Hire Port, DPC wholesalers, The Bread and Pastry Basket, Jetz Laundry and Christine’s Patisserie.
What was the highlight of the Ironman for you?
The carbo loading dinner is always exciting, but we would have to say the Awards Dinner on the Monday night after the event was the highlight. There was such an amazing atmosphere! The marquee where the dinner took place was given an oriental theme, with red lanterns throughout, red lights and smoke machines. It was a truly incredible background to serve the banquet. At the end of the night, Shane Smith, the General Manager of Ironman, told us he was ‘thrilled’ with the catering, so that was another highlight.
What makes Ironman different to other events you cater?
The scale of the event, first and foremost! We cater for lots of large events such as weddings and large scale corporate functions, but the Ironman is definitely our largest event on the calendar!
The ‘carbo loading’ dinner on the first night of the event is also interesting. Our catering is normally a celebration of tastes and flavours of different foods. The carbo loading is a purely functional meal and crucially important to the athletes, to ensure they have the energy to complete the Ironman event. We make sure it tastes good too!
I’m sure the Ironman isn’t the only event you cater for all year. What other catering do you specialise in?
We are specialists in offsite catering. We regularly cater at local vineyards, surf clubs, function centres, private residences, corporate offices, community halls, conference centres, marquees – we’ll cater any sized function, anywhere!
How can people contact you if they’re interested in getting you to cater for their next event?
People can visit us at our premises at 5/35 Merrigal Road, Port Macquarie, or call or emails us.