Thursday, July 31, 2008
Of course, that wouldn't last forever... Now the coolers are stocked... Pictured here is the storage cooler for fresh produce...
When the Olympic Catering Project started, at the International Broadcast Center, we were receiving a few hundred cases a week; now, we are receiving more than 2,000 cases each day.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The white 'meat' of the fruit is the same texture as watermelon and has a similar taste.
Fruit, of course, is not only for eating. The Chinese are known for their beautiful and elaborate fruit carvings. While not elaborate per se, this bird was carved from a single apple in less than 5 minutes by a student...
Probably my favorite Chinese treat so far - Peking duck... The traditional way to eat peking duck is in a small wrap, similar to a crepe, with fried leeks and a sweet soy bean sauce... simply delicious.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
As for myself... I take no sides on the issue. I can neither confirm nor deny either side of the argument. The games are only 10 days away; only time will tell.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Aramark, the managed services company providing food and dining services for the 2008 Olympic Games (and my regular employer) currently operates in 19 countries; there are repersentatvies from every country working at these games, adding to my cultural experience...
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Before the woks can by used they must be tempered and prepared. This is done by heating every section of the wok over the burner until it gets red hot. This is done several times and in sections in order to prepared the metal as well as burn off any impurities. The final step is to completly coat the wok with oil (vegetable oil) and cook it off. At that point, it is ready to be used.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Here, I am getting my first and only mini-lesson in Tai-Chi. Yes, I felt a little silly making the various poses...
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Rice is the staple of the Chinese diet - rice for breakfast, rice for lunch, and rice for dinner. So much starch would be bad for a diabetic. But, coupled with regular exercise, many diabetics can enjoy a little more starch in their diet. I have found that to be true for me. Let me be the first to advertise this point - for many diabetics (this is, of course, not true for everyone), the more you exercise the more likely you are to reduce your meds, lower your blood sugar, and perhaps change the diagnosis...
The kitchen in the International Broadcast Center is exactly 300 meters from Staff Dining; Main Dining is another floor up and Fine Dining is another floor up from there. I have to make that hike several times per shift, resulting in more than 12 miles of regualr walking per day, sometimes at a pretty quick pace...
The amazing thing about all of this, and the good news at least for me as a diabetic is that I have enjoyed a lot more starch in my diet (I love rice and pasta) but have lowered my blood sugar to well within normal limits, even too low sometimes. I don't know what this will mean for my next visit with my doctor (I see him as soon as I get back) but I think it will be good.
Monday, July 21, 2008
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. It refers to the various stages of food production, from receiving to reheating. Following HACCP standards simply requires that cold food be kept cold and hot foot be kept hot. The HACCP team is on location in the venue all day long, at every meal period, taking temperatures and samples of every dish. Their function is to ensure that no dish is tainted with chemical, physical, or biological hazards. They are an important part of the team.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
We have had and continue to have challenges providing global, world-class cuisine to our customers. The biggest reason for this is the availability of product. We only receive approximately 25% - 35% of the product ordered each day. The reasons for this are too numerous to mention here... It's just a fact and the nature of business for us right now. We (the chefs at the International Broadcast Center) met together as a culinary team to ensure that we work together as one team and not as a Western group and an Eastern group. We have not had any issues in this regard, but a preemptive meeting was necessary to avoid the potential of an issue; everyone has grown increasingly frustrated at the limited availability of product... Culinary creativity and working together as one team will see us through to a successful end...
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Start with the ribs, cut into 2 rib sections. Prepare a boiling liquid for the ribs in a stock pot, using water, garlic, ginger, green onions, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, and sichuan peppers. Add the ribs and cover; let it come to a slow boil and simmer for several hours, just until the meat is ready to pull away from the bones... Remove the ribs from the liquid and set aside; strain the solid particles from the liquid and return it to high heat until it comes to a boil. Stir in a corn starch slurrry until you're left with a glaze. Pour the glaze over the ribs and bake in the oven another half-hour to 45 minutes. Serve with your favorite rice and vegetables.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This is the Olympic Tower, located in the plaza next to the Bird's Nest (National Stadium)...
This is me in front of the Bird's Nest (National Stadium)...
The Bird's Nest from the 'A' entrance side (entrances are from A to M)...
Three buildings pictured here. The Olympic Aqua Cube is the building in the foreground; the National Indoor Stadium is in the center; the International Broadcast Center (where I work) is the building in the background... The Bird's Nest is across the street...
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Right outside the front door of Main Dining at IBC is a row of sponsor shops - Kodak, Addidas, Samsung, Bank of China, and others...
Coca-Cola, another official sponsor of the Olympics, appears on signage and billboards all around Olympic Park...
I took a fun moment at one of the broadcast desks for CCTV, from China...
Here's a snap shot of part of Olympic Park...
Monday, July 14, 2008
Q. What kind of food is being prepared at IBC?
A. The International Broadcast Center will house the TV broadcast stations from more than 200 countries. It is a very large building, as one can imagine, with several food venues. We prepare a variety of dishes at each meal from all over the world. We prepare several varieties of pizza, several pastas with a variety of sauces, several Mediterranian skewers, a large variety of grilled sausages, a vast assortment of salads, paninis and other sandwiches and wraps, several different western dishes (like mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, French toast, beef stew, and so much more), as well as traditional Chinese food. We serve quick snacks in several coffee shops and kiosks as well as operate an 80-seat exclusive fine dining restaurant.
Q. Are there concerns about tainted product?
A. I have never seen safety and security so strictly enforced as I have here at Olympic Park. There is a broad food safety organization who inspects every case of food that comes into the Park. Rest assured, every morsel of food served to broadcasters, journalists, athletes, and guests is among the safest in the world.
Q. Is the food in China different from the Chinese food available in America?
A. Yes, I would say that traditional Chinese is different than the American version available at so many buffets in the US. I am surprised at the amount of oil, cinnamon, star anise, and cloves that are used here. We use a lot more Chinese red wine, hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce, and surprisingly very little soy sauce. Rice, the staple of every Chinese meal, is very starchy short grain rice, available but not typically used in America.
Q. How is housing for the food service staff?
A. There are more than 6,000 people that make up the working crew of the various culinary departments throughout the Park. They come from 22 tourism and culinary schools all around China. I know their housing is a bus ride away and their transportation is arranged for them, but I don't know about the quality of their accomodations. The 230 international managers assigned to Olympic Park have housing in two different locations in Beijing. I have an apartment at the Somerset, Zhong Guan Cun, in the Haidian District of Beijing. The property is run by Ascott International, who has locations all over the world and caters to traveling executives. The accomodations are very nice according to anyone's standards. I live in a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment - with living room, dining room, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and an office - and share the apartment with Bruce Wessley from Iowa. We rarely see each other becuase of different work schedules. The apartment has wood floors in the bedrooms and office and marble floors throughout the remainder. There is an indoor pool, weight room, and spa on the property. It is walking distance from a shopping mall, an electronics mall, and a corner market as well as dozens of restaurants and is only a 15-minute taxi ride from Olympic Park, on a good day.
I hope this answers at least some questions. Send me more and I will do my best to tell you what you want to know...
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Of course, there are many Olympic events at venues all over China. At Olympic Park alone, there is a square mile or more of Olympic venues that will house a variety of competitions. The International Broadcast Center will be the home of Olympic Fencing. Today, Fencing Hall turned on the lights for its first practice session. Don't know if the athletes in this video are Olympic athletes.
Friday, July 11, 2008
"Athletes, officials, spectators and tourists can pick up the Bible or just the New Testament for free during the Olympic Games next month.
Tens of thousands of copies of the Bible, the New Testament and booklets with just the four Gospels (according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) have been printed for the purpose, say officials of China's Christian society.
News of the printing of the Scriptures should put pay to rumors started by overseas agencies saying the Chinese authorities would not make the Bible available at the Games.
Rev Xu Xiaohong, an official of the Shanghai-based China Christian Council in charge of publishing, says 50,000 bilingual (Chinese and English) editions of the Gospel booklets had already been printed by June. They are on way to six cities hosting the Olympic events in the mainland.
As has been the practice at earlier Games, the Gospel booklets will be available mainly in churches and the Olympic Village in Beijing, and in Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin and Qinhuangdao, Xu says.
Places of worship for people of other religions too have been set up in the Olympic Village, Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China has said.
The cover of the Gospel booklet will have the Beijing Olympics logo. "This is especially significant (because) as far as I know, this is the first time an Olympics logo will be used on a religious booklet," Xu says. "The Olympic spirit and the spirit of living a 'purpose-driven life' that Christians believe in come together in the combination."
Nanjing-based Amity Printing Co, the country's major printer of the Bible, has printed the Gospel booklets. Its general manager Li Chunnong says 30,000 copies of the New Testament (Chinese-English bilingual edition) are being printed for free distribution during the Games.
The Beijing Christian Council has placed an order with Amity to reprint 10,000 copies of the bilingual Bible edition to be distributed in the Olympic Village, Li says.
Amity Printing is a joint venture of the country's Amity Foundation and the international United Bible Society.
"This is a major and exciting opportunity. We are privileged to be able to support the Church in China in the publishing of the Bible during the Olympics," says James Catford, chief executive of the Bible Society.
The society, however, has no plans to provide free copies of the Bible in hotels, according to Xu.
Churches in Beijing have been asked to provide people to man the Olympic Village chapel and hold services and prayers, says Liu Bainian, vice-president of the China Patriotic Catholic Association."
Thursday, July 10, 2008
There are currently around 3,000 broadcasters, crews, support staff, and IBC staff being served each day. We expect that number to increase, almost daily, to around 10,000 within a week-and-a-half, when IBC goes to 24-hour service. By the time of the games we expect to be serving over 18,000.
As broadcasters arrive and start setting up their equipment, many are taking preliminary shots of Olympic Park for news stories. In the pictures seen here, three different Chinese stations take shots inside IBC.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Chinese calligraphy is a beautiful art and it amazes me to watch a calligrapher at work. Today, at the Silk Market, I ordered small signs printed with the names of everyone in my family in English and Chinese. In this video clip, the calligrapher writes Christian's name in Chinese and then in English...
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Just is case the picture doesn't give you a good idea of traffic in Beijing, check out this short video clip of a recent ride on a bus into work...
Monday, July 7, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Today, as more and more broadcasters start to arrive at Olympic Park from all over the world, I was fortunate enough to run into a crew from Rio de Janeiro - from TV Globo, a global satellite company based in Rio. We spent a few minutes talking about Brazil and sharing some food ideas... They wanted to know where to find churrasco (Brazilian BBQ) in Beijing; unfortunately, no such thing can be found here.
Anyway, it was a good visit and a good time to practice my Portuguese.