Monday, July 14, 2008

A Few Questions Answered

Recently, I have received several questions from family, friends, and fans. Now is a good time to answer a few of them...

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...

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