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Pittsburgh Chefs Set Table for Leaders of the World

Pittsburgh Chefs Set Table for Leaders of the World

Bob Karlovits | The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The convention center will be using compostable dishes, cups and packaging for its meals, cutting down on waste, says Pascal Petter, director of operations. That, he says, is an effort to be true to the convention center’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design recognition.

The convention center staff will present a hefty example of Western Pennsylvania produce.

The rooftop garden will be the source of lettuce, eggplant, green peppers and tomatoes, says Tom Bugel, sous chef for the Levy operation there. But the size of that garden will provide only about 5 percent of the needed produce, so farms from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Armstrong, Clarion, Indiana and Bedford counties will be the source of the rest.

Food preparation for the summit is more than simply a dining issue. It has turned into a matter involving great security, with menus being kept under cover by the White House and State Department. It also has become a security issue, with employees, food items and producers being greatly screened.

Petter says the staff is accustomed to preparing food for large gatherings, such as the recent AFL-CIO convention. But the high level of the event featuring world leaders from around the globe makes it a bigger challenge.

He has been informed there will be more than 2,500 members of the media covering the summit. Because of worldwide media deadlines, that will require food to be available available around the clock.

The delegations will bring to 4,000 the total number of guests to be served, he says. That will demand food in box lunches, at sit-down buffets and “grab-and-go” meals, many of them being served at the same time.