A day in the life

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL – BEHINE THE BAIN MARIE AND THE EMAILS

Cirque Du Soleil and Eat to the Beat, a perfect pairing. Our long running partnership has seen our crew tour all over the world on 15 different productions during the last 10 years. For almost four years I have been lucky enough to play a small part in its success, both in the office and on the road.

My Cirque journey started out in Rotterdam in 2018 when I spent a week working as front of house on ‘Toruk – The First Flight’ a production inspired by Avatar. Here I got my first glimpse into life on the road with the circus and discovered the magic of Cirque Du Soleil. Since then, I have also spent six weeks traveling around France with OVO, getting to know the team and making friends along the way, before joining our team in the office full time.

There is one big similarity I have noticed over time between the office side of things and being on site and that is how laid back it is. Everything Cirque wise feels simple. Yes, there is always something to be done but its calm and the sense of it being a family is always there. I also have a whole new appreciation for just how much work goes into these things and how hard everyone in the team works, something that sometimes isn’t quite so easy to see when you do just one side of the job.

From the office side it’s all about carnets, coffee pods and booking flights. Ensuring the client is happy and that if there are any issues with equipment, we fix it or sort out a replacement. Making sure that the crew are consistently delivering our high levels of service.

In an average week on the road, we serve around 1,300 meals to the Cirque crew. This includes lunch, dinner, and a brunch on Sundays. Meals are always varied, with local specialities and regional dishes served.
I have recently been out to Nantes to see the Corteo team and even though I’ve not been on site with a Cirque crew for nearly three years, it felt like I had never left. A different team, a different show but still that same warm feeling that you get when you are part of Cirque. Those you have met before, happy to see you and those who you have not welcome you in with open arms. Everyone has one shared passion and that is to make a show that makes people happy and allows them to go to a different world for those few hours that they are seated in the auditorium.

Being a part of it all, behind a computer screen or a Bain Marie will always feel special.

Cirque Du Soleil

Lacey Bonham

NEWBIE ALERT!

ACCOUNT MANAGER, GIG

 

I have worked in the events world since 2013 and have had a variety of roles. Initially starting my career in the hotel sector planning weddings and special events (if anyone has worked in the hotel world you will know all the weird and wonderful things that go on behind closed doors)! I then moved into larger private and public events and was involved in organising exclusive private dinners, mass participation running, cycling and walking events along with charity balls and Christmas fayres. And now I find myself being a newbie at Global Infusion Group!
I joined the catering division a few months ago as an Account Manager for GIG and Eat to the Beat and it already feels like I have been here much longer… but in a really good way! Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive, and this was definitely something I was looking for in a new role.

My first week was a whirlwind, from meeting the team and getting to grips with the company structure to learning what a slab top and Bain Marie are. I was also lucky enough to be a part of a wider team working on an exciting catering concept for a new film studio. The project had a really tight turn around to pull together a huge catering concept; from designing a dining area with multiple interchangeable food outlets to robots delivering orders, with sustainability at the heart of the concept. The client response was really positive we are through to the next stage… so watch this space.

Fast forward six weeks and my first two jobs have been successfully delivered. Up first was crew catering for The Royal Parks Half Marathon, a four-day job in the middle of Hyde Park, (who knew a kitchen truck can literally go anywhere!) It was a challenge but thankfully it went seamlessly, and I received some amazing feedback from the client, which was a huge confidence boost!

The Will Young UK Tour was my second job out the door and will be on the road until mid- November and so far, so good! A few other exciting jobs that I have been working on include the Kiss Haunted House Party at Wembley Arena, a European tour for Simply Red before moving on to Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice, and Dancing on Ice!

I have to say the biggest eye opener for me has been dressing room riders. I’ve always known that artists can be demanding but wow where do I start….so far, the more random requests include a removing all the green skittles in every bag and hanging a framed photograph of an Eastenders actor riding Mr Blobby hung in the room! Obviously, there are loads more but we can’t give away all our secrets.

My new favourite saying is ‘every day is a school day’ as I am learning something new each day! I am really enjoying the challenges and I’m excited to see what the next few months have to offer.

Lacey x

A VISIT TO MEI’S UK EVENT SUMMIT

A couple of weeks ago I headed up to Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester to attend Major Events International’s (MEI) annual UK Event Summit. The content was as thought-provoking as it was interesting. There were panels and presentations that looked at everything, from the current state of the industry and best practice to really good advice about staff retention, audience engagement and sustainability.

Highlights for me included the panel discussions on The Future of Live Events, with a panel of industry experts that was made up of Jon Drape, Engine No 4; Craig Mathie, Bournemouth 7s; Eric Stuart, UKCMA and Becky Stevens, Hybred Consultancy (drafted in at the last minute, who was a great addition). As someone who’s fairly new to the outdoor event world but now completed my first summer it was good to hear about the challenges being faced across the board. Something Craig said particularly struck a chord, ‘The industry is good at dealing with urgent problems rather than important problems. We need to be more sustainable, look after our people and promote the value of the industry. People will always want to get together but if everything that sits behind that has a more positive social impact then that’s a really positive step forward.’

The How to attract and keep the right workforce was also excellent. It was really interesting to hear about Emirates Old Trafford’s approach to attracting permanent chefs away from agencies, the venue has become more flexible, allowing chefs to work mornings or evenings rather than putting them on a rota. They were also doing some interesting work around engaging with temporary staff, from showcasing the benefits of working there to making them feel part of the team. This was echoed by Utrac who reiterated that it’s an employee’s market at the moment and that personal time needs to be valued.  Whilst the team behind the London Marathon are changing cultures and have a new way of thinking to retain people.

Other stand out sessions included the Operational Best Practice panel with Bev Ward who was Bid Consultant (Host Cities) for The FA on the Women’s Euros and there was a fantastic case study from Silverstone’s head of sustainability, Stephane Bazire.

Overall, the sessions were informative and it was great to hear from so many experts in their fields as well as meeting up with several of our clients and supply partners.

Hayley Collins

Katy Jones

A DAY IN THE LIFE

OPERATIONS MANAGER, GIG

 

Katy works in a fast paced client facing, customer focused environment. Day to day liaison with clients is vital for understanding requirements and objectives and turning them into deliverable and relevant operations plans that ensure we deliver! Flexibility to working hours and implementing company codes of conduct and company policy is all part and parcel of a normal day for Katy, along with the ability to travel across almost anywhere at a moment’s notice!

In conjunction with the Project Manager, Executive Chef and crewing team, calculating and coordinating staffing requirements is often a large part of the planning process. Writing run sheets, creating and updating specific operations manuals are a daily activity, as well working with functional areas, including the culinary team to design seasonal menus. Close liaison with the warehouse team to ensure all equipment is packed and delivered is often another key daily task.

With any project, large or small, financial planning and reconciliation is a fundamental part of our commercial success and the success of our clients return on investment. Supported by a behind the scenes accounting team at HQ, Katy works closely with them to ensure invoices are processed, supply chain is secured and both full and freelance team members receive the appropriate remuneration.

Onsite, with responsibility for the co-ordination of all operational queries, Katy acts as our lead ambassador with all stakeholders; providing live event management support, briefing staff and ensuring documents are disseminated. Readiness is a fundamental core of Katy’s role, and enforces all related KPI’s. Adherence to health and safety, including licensing continues throughout the lifespan of the event, completing pre and post service checks and reports, complying with security needs, and ensuring lessons learned are carried forward.

Safe and prompt pack down marks the end of the project, but not for Katy… hands on and often the last one onsite, she is already planning the next one!

Katy is a PRINCE2 qualified Project Manager and joined GIG in 2012. Since then Katy has overseen Olympic Operations at PyeongChang 2018, Rio 2016 and was a Restaurant Manager out at Sochi 2014. She has travelled globally to manage hospitality on numerous events, including the World Endurance Championships and Extreme Sailing Series. Additionally, Katy manages a large portfolio of our clients; Renault, Cisco, AEG, Mace, EA Games, Porsche, Virgin Money, Aston Martin and ASOS.

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