WINNIPEG – Cooking for a crowd can be a daunting task, but serving up a meal for hundreds is another.
All week chefs have been prepping for Saturday night’s Table for 1,200 event.
“I think I worked 36 hours straight, I did two days with a four hour nap in between,” said the event’s executive chef Ben Kramer. “A lot of chopping, we’re doing everything fresh and local so there’s a lot of peeling, a lot of chopping, a lot of tedious work.”
For the first time ever the sold out event is setting up a world record length 1,200 foot table on the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge between the Forks and St. Boniface.
“My biggest concern was weather and logistics of the location. The food part for us is easy, it’s the organizing of the event and managing all of the people that’s hard,” said Kramer.
Kramer is used to cooking for thousands of people on a daily basis as the University of Winnipeg’s executive chef and caterer of 55,000 meals at Folk Festival, but his partner for this event isn’t.
“Challenges, I love doing things I’m not used to, I have a 68 seat restaurant so turning that into 1,200 dining experiences is quite a challenge,” said Mandel Hitzer, chef at Deer + Almond.
While it may be a challenge, Hitzer isn’t one to shy away from bizarre events. As creator of the winter pop up restaurant Raw: Almond on the frozen Red and Assiniboine rivers.
The dinner will be set up family style where ticket holders who paid $35 and asked to wear all white will be offered four cold and two hot dishes, wine, and a chocolate treat for dessert.
“The great thing about it is that we all get to experience it together, all 1,200 people get to have this experience together so it’s pretty special,” said Hitzer.
“We’re just running this as a not for profit event hoping to make a difference by having a wonderful community get together, enjoy amazing food, have a discussion about the future and health of our city,” said event organizer Johanna Hurme.
Organizers are hoping to make this an annual event and want to double their world record next year by setting up a table for 2,400.