Posted: July 7, 2015 4:43 pm
Thousands of spectators, volunteers, caddies and reporters will gather at the Lancaster Country Club this week for the U.S. Women’s Open.
And that means thousands of hungry stomachs will need to be fed.
But not everyone eats the same food at the tournament.
In fact, there is a hierarchy of food at the tournament, ranging from burgers and hot dogs for spectators all the way up to tenderloin for the chichi corporate clients and lobster mac and cheese for even the lowly sportswriters and media folks (but not consumed by this reporter, sadly).
And there also are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the caddies, which happens to be the traditional go-to food of the bag-carrying crowd at tournaments.
All of that food is being prepared by a Minnesota catering company called Prom Catering, whose tight, well-oiled team works the United States Golf Association tournament circuit, preparing menus and feeding crowds of up to 10,000 a day at golf courses around the country.
“We’re a circus,” says Kalli Tuma, 26, a Prom Catering employee, “in the way that we travel around, pack up and leave for the next place.”
Prom Catering is feeding everyone at the tournament this week, with the exception of players and their families. Their food is being prepared and served in the clubhouse by Lancaster Country Club.
Prom Catering traveled to Lancaster County with four tractor-trailers, which are being used to store food, and a 50-by-60-foot tent housing a mobile kitchen, all set up on its own compound on a tennis court just inside the main entrance to the Open at the Lancaster Country Club.
Here, three head chefs and six prep chefs are chopping, cooking and assembling meals. More than 100 people are helping to serve the food, including volunteers and a paid staff of about 80 servers and bartenders.
The staff is feeding 400 volunteers, 160 caddies, 200 reporters and 500 corporate clients — a total of 1,200 people — every day of the tournament at separate dining tents sprinkled across the country club grounds.
Prom’s concession stands also could feed 10,000 spectators or more every day, depending on the weather and attendance.
The concession tents serve sandwiches that are freshly prepared each morning, along with meats roasted in ovens on site or grilled on large barbecues set up behind the tents, said Rebecca Capra, a Prom concession tent manager.
The size and scope of the Lancaster County Club operation doesn’t faze Prom, Tuma said.
“This is a small event for us,” she said.
So what can you eat if you are at the tournament?
If you’re a spectator:
You can choose from 10 different hot and cold sandwiches, which include both a veggie wrap and a pulled-pork sandwich, ranging in price from $3 to $10. Fruit, desserts and drinks, including wine and beer, also are available.
If you’re a volunteer:
You can get a continental breakfast that features items including doughnuts, bagels, fruit and coffee. At lunch, a hot meal could include a meatball sandwich or a sausage sandwich on a pretzel roll, along with a salad and dessert. Later in the day, a range of snacks are available, along with cold drinks all day.
If you’re a caddie:
You can get a continental breakfast of muffins, bagels and fruit. At lunch, the perennial favorite make-your-own PBJ station is set up (with a choice of white or wheat bread, creamy or chunky peanut butter, and grape or strawberry jelly). A hot lunch of items such as hot dogs, brats or meatball sandwiches also is available. Later in the day, snacks are set up.
Also: PBJs (the prepackaged Smucker’s Uncrustables) and fruit are available at all the tees for caddies and players.
If you’re a corporate client:
You can choose from a “tiered menu,” with different options for different prices.
Using lunch as an example, corporate clients can get a basic menu that includes hot dogs and burgers.
Up a step from that would be hand-carved turkey and brisket, with macaroni and cheese as a possible side.
Up a step from that would be interactive chef’s stations with higher-end options such as tenderloin and mushrooms cooked in butter.
Desserts could include everything from cookies to a Root Beer Float station.
If you’re a reporter:
Sportswriters, TV newscasters and their ilk can eat a continental breakfast. For lunch, options include brisket, lobster mac and cheese, wraps and salads, along with desserts.