THE world's leaders will receive a showcase of Welsh produce at the Nato Summit held at the Celtic Manor next month - and staff are gearing up to welcome them.
The staff at the resort in Newport say they are excited and fully prepared for the 60 of the world's leaders ahead of the summit on September 4 and 5. The two day event will host 70 foreign and defence ministers and defence chiefs, around 4000 delegates and 1500 of the world’s media.
Mike Bates, executive chef at the Celtic Manor, who is originally from Newport says that this will be the biggest event he has catered for in his career.
He said: "All of the catering team are excited to get the opportunity as is the Celtic Manor to showcase Welsh produce. A lot of it is locally sourced food that we will be serving as we want to showcase the produce that Wales has to offer.
"We are associated with producing the finest quality lamb and Welsh beef. We've had to hire extra catering staff to provide for the staff that will be on site which includes the paramedics and police.
"We will be serving 1,200 covers for them and have hired eight extra chefs. The most I've catered for is 1,500 people, there will be a lot more than that here - we estimate 2,500 meals for lunch and dinner as well as various things throughout the day."
Two of the menus have been finalised including the Welcome to Wales canapés evening which will provide food to 360 people. Mr Bates says the menus are being kept secret but so far no special dietary requirements have been raised.
He said: "The menu is being kept confidential but we can pre-empt to obtain certain produce which we will need such as a particular type rice of rice. The timing is crucial, but that can change with the meeting times as we know. This will have a domino effect on us but we're used to golfers here and they're never on time."
The resort is in the final stages of preparation for the summit with the temporary media centre being installed which should be ready this Thursday. Ian Edwards is the chief operation officer who will be overseeing the running of staff at the resort and has seven years of experience at the Celtic Manor.
He said: "The preparation has been going well we have the full impact of Nato behind us. This will be the platform for our convention centre to spring board off as Nato is the biggest international conference. It will leave a lasting legacy for the Celtic Manor, for Wales and for Newport.
“My role is to make sure we deliver a first class service for the conference. We are really excited to be planning the event and to be a part of it. All the staff have been briefed on security measures, we are an open business, our staff are aware of coming and goings and how to deal with security measures.”
He added: “We have had to realign resources because of the conference - our head of events management is usually in charge of 20 events a year, this year they have been focused solely on the NATO conference. We employ 1,000 people and have employed 60 extra full time staff members this year partly because of Nato and the business needs.”
Fiona Higgins, 49, is the guest relations manager and will be in charge of greeting guest and tending to their needs.
She said: "We are all really excited in anticipation of being part of such a prestigious event. It is my first day as guest relations manager and couldn’t be happier to be a part of something this big.”