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SVC Ready to Feed Steelers, Fans

Public Relations
Posted: Wednesday Jul 27, 2011
The Saint Vincent College dining services staff has expanded to more than 100 workers who will cook and serve the Pittsburgh Steelers and the tens of thousands of fans who will attend their 46th annual summer training camp opening Thursday.

Under the supervision of general manager Reggie Esmi and executive chef Rick Laskie, the department has been planning for weeks in hopeful anticipation of the Steelers return to finalize the menus for regular daily meals as well as special events and snacks. They have added 40 workers to their regular staff of 75 to ensure that the Steelers will enjoy the same service and hospitality that students and others have come to expect at Saint Vincent. They will serve 140 players, staff and guests for breakfast and 200 to 250 for lunch and dinner.

In preparation for the three weeks of camp, dining services placed an order which would dwarf those at some major restaurants. This year that order included 1,600 pounds each of beef and chicken, 1,100 pounds of fish, 2,200 turkey burgers and 800 pounds of wings. The chefs cook outside on charcoal grills daily.

“The players love juice,” Chef Laskie said, “We ordered 160 gallons of orange juice, 90 gallons each of peach, cranberry and apple juice and 50 gallons each of guava and grape juice. We will also serve more than two tons of fresh fruits since the players consume about 120 pounds every day of bananas, plums, nectarines, peaches, oranges, apples, grapefruits and cherries.”

Most players like to eat as healthy as possible and will consume about 1,500 pounds of fresh vegetables in the next three weeks -- about 35 pounds of in-season vegetables are served at every meal including broccoli, green beans, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots and squash. Many enjoy fresh greens and other selections from the salad bar.

The dining room will again utilize two large panini presses that can grill a total of 32 custom made, hot deli sandwiches at one time. “The Steelers loved the paninis as much as our students do,” Chef Laskie said.

A wood-fired oven in the dining hall provides an excellent facility for baking 20 homemade and hand-tossed pizzas at every meal, a total of nearly 1,000 during the course of camp with the most popular toppings requested being cheese and pepperoni.

Custom-made four-egg omelets are by far the most popular choice by 80 percent of the players for breakfast with side orders of bacon, turkey burgers or sausage, home fries, donuts, fresh fruit, Danish pastries, breads and cereal.

While the emphasis is on good nutrition, the players also crave desserts, especially cheesecake with strawberries, ice cream novelties and Popsicles, apple and cherry pie, chocolate cake and some sugar-free options. Soy milk and a fresh fruit smoothie station are available at every meal.

The Steelers also have a fourth meal every day – a snack in the evening that includes meats (smoked turkey, baked ham, salami and pepperoni), cheeses (American, Swiss, cheddar, pepper jack and provolone), vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers), fruit (strawberries and watermelons), tuna, egg and chicken salads, tacos, pizza (plain, pepperoni, meat lovers and buffalo chicken) and freshly-baked cookies.

For the fans who visit camp, the College will also have concessions near St. Benedict Hall, in the Steelers Experience area, along the entrance road under the large weeping willow trees, outside on the patio beside the Robert S. Carey Student Center and in the concession stand at Chuck Noll Field. The Shack snack bar inside the Carey Center will also be open. Hours of operation for the concession areas are 1:30 to 6 p.m. on practice days.

The Willow Tree concession will be selling ice cream, hot dogs, chips and water while the Chuck Noll Field concession will have bottled water, Gatorade, nachos and cheese, ice cream, hot dogs and chips. The concession near St. Benedict Hall is a hydration station featuring bottled water, iced tea and Gatorade. The Carey Center concession will have bottled water, iced tea, Gatorade, chips, hot dogs and whole fruit. The Steelers Experience area will have ice cream, hot dogs, chips, bottled water, pretzels, nachos and cheese, bottled soda and Gatorade.

“We enjoy cooking for the Steelers and serving them and their guests,” Mr. Esmi said. “We try to concentrate on healthy eating and ensuring that the players and coaches are happy. We extend the same high-quality preparation and service that our students enjoy including special programs offered through Parkhurst Dining Services such as Local Fresh, Whole Body and Hemisflavors – utilizing authentic international recipes from seven foreign countries including Japan, Mexico, Spain, Greece, India, Thailand, Morocco, Lebanon and Sicily.”

“We really enjoy the special meals we are able to prepare for the Steelers,” Mr. Esmi concluded, “including those with entrees featuring flank steaks, prime rib, carved beef tenderloin (128 pounds of filet mignon) and the traditional end-of-camp meal menu -- fresh Maine lobster (170 pounds of ten-ounce tails). Everyone loves the Steelers. We are proud to serve them in our dining room and enjoy seeing them satisfied. We want them to remember the food they ate here long after they leave Saint Vincent.”