Working as ‘pot wash’ for a national music event’s crew catering is an unpleasant job. Dirty and physically exhausting, it’s the kind of low-skill and low-wage work desperate people who don’t know their rights, or can’t exercise them, take up (as it’s off-topic email me if you want to know more…).
The appalling and unsafe working conditions came as no surprise but I hadn’t anticipated my environmental sensibilities to be so rudely offended. The scale of waste produced was shocking. Enough red carpet to cover 5 football pitches was put down for the evening and disposed of the next day. 2000 pieces of disposable plastic cutlery used per day in crew catering. 500 polystyrene takeaway boxes each lunchtime meal. An unknown quantity of steaks, chicken breasts, pork chops, prawns, beef mince. Potentially thousands of eggs every day (the desserts were never sweet enough and got binned).
The crew catering was high end and provided an impressive array of choice. Yet that said, it being events catering nothing tasted as good as it looked. With this kind of grub something is always lacking; it’s a tasteless quality, a chemical reaction brought about by cooking food in vats.
Considering nothing tasted wonderful it was pointless for the caterers to provide so much choice. At lunch and dinner service customers could choose a dish featuring any of the big four – chicken, pork, beef, or lamb. Or a fish option.
It is generally accepted that choice is good from the customer’s point of view. In this situation it really isn’t, because tasting the food can only evoke one emotion: disappointment. The customer is left feeling that they made the wrong choice (‘Should’ve got the chops’) when actually all the dishes just aren’t quite right.
My problem with the choice provided is that this contributed to a lot more food waste. Having so many options is clearly excessive.
Whole bins were filled up with desserts after service.
Someone told me that if you work in catering you get used to the waste. ‘Quick and cheap means lots of bins and plastic.’