Crystelle Cordero, Media & Communications Manager, ANZ Stadium

Graham Mason, Head of Media, Communications & Government Relations, Optus Stadium

Our stadiums have long been considered the leading multipurpose venues in Australia. For the general punter that simply equates to hosting the very best sports, concerts and Meetings & Special Events. But the latest initiatives our teams have undertaken during the COVID-19 crisis have not only demonstrated our incredible diversity, but the heart and soul we bring to our roles. Read on for a snapshot of the inspiring work our VenuesLive team has undertaken.

NSW:

31,254 meals in 19 days, delivered with warmth and compassion to isolated international travellers at Travelodge Hotels – this has been our Catering team’s amazing contribution during the challenging times of COVID-19.

After being engaged by the NSW Government in late March to produce meals for quarantined travellers at Travelodge Sydney and Travelodge Wynyard, our team dialled in suppliers, arranged for delivery of produce to ANZ Stadium, cleaned the kitchen and rostered staff, before preparing, cooking and packaging meals.

On the first day of operation (6 April), the VenuesLive/Venues NSW Catering Team delivered 2,276 meals to quarantined guests, plus stationed NSW Police officers, NSW Department of Health employees and members of the Australian Armed Services.

Since then our chefs have fired up the Stadium kitchens each day, preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner – plus a range of snacks, for delivery to the hotels, and our team has loved every minute of the journey.

They’ve also been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from so many grateful Aussies in isolation:

“Your hard work and great service to all of us in quarantine is very much appreciated from the bottom of my heart,” said Tua, in an email. “Your meals are so delicious, clean & professionally well presented.”

Said Alessandra: “I actually look forward to seeing what breakfast, lunch & dinner brings and I am like a child as I await the package being delivered to my door. I would like to send a big thank you to your chefs/team for the delicious meals you are preparing for us all at Travelodge Hotels!”

The production, distribution and service delivery has been managed by VenuesLive Catering’s Senior Management Team, including but not limited to General Manager Catering Andreas Breitfuss (Project Lead), Executive Chef John Deane (Kitchen Planning & Operations), Senior Manager Catering Craig O’Shaughnessy (Service Delivery), Head of Procurement Mark Youssef (Procurement, Purchasing & Distribution), and Safety, Environment & Quality Manager Peter Higham (Food Safety & Quality Control).

All meals have been designed by Executive Chef John Deane (pictured above) and encompass a range of products that reflect culinary and cultural diversity while also being nutritious, tasty and visually appealing. Our menus also catered for a range of dietary requirements including vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and child-friendly options.

We’ll leave the last words to quarantined traveller Anne Menzie who summed up our team’s effort perfectly:

“Dear John and Quaranteam, ‘THANK YOU’ does not express the delight we feel to be the recipients of your designed menu and completed product. My husband and I wish to compliment everyone involved. The range is diverse, the flavour is delicious, the nutrition is great, the humour is delightful and needed, the volume is huge. Well done for making this time especially more memorable. Thanking you again.”

WATCH THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO OF OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTION. GO TEAM!

WA:

Last month, Optus Stadium donated more than $70,000 in food and beverages to OzHarvest – Australia’s leading food rescue organisation – to help those most in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

This included items such as orange juice, coffee, tea, water, soft drink, chips, nuts and condiments that would have otherwise gone unused due to the suspension of the AFL season.

The team at Optus Stadium worked diligently to bring the items down from all areas of the Stadium, to ensure that the OzHarvest trucks could collect the bounty in one simple, easy operation and distribute to those most in need.

Optus Stadium has a long term relationship with OzHarvest and in 2019 our donations to this worthy organisation equated to 128,000 meals.

Optus Stadium chefs and kitchen staff have also been busy following the commissioning of the Catering Team – along with staff from RAC Arena and other VenuesWest venues – to prepare, cook and store 20,000 meals.

Head of Catering Craig Menzies and Head Chef Jochen Benarek quickly pulled together a plan and variety of menus and the result is that over the past few weeks we have cooked and stored all of the meals.

WA Police have also moved into Optus Stadium establishing an emergency headquarters as the State coordinates its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   An Incident Management Team (IMT) is utilising the Level 3 Sports Lounge and some Level 4 Suites.

VenuesLive, which operates Optus Stadium for the West Australian Government, has rostered a Venue Management Team, with the roster being filled by Events & Operations staff and supported by staff from Catering and ICT.

Some Optus Stadium staff members have also been seconded to the WA Health Department to assist with the COVID-19 response.