A team perspective

Keith Prowse, the official hospitality supplier at Edgbaston, delivers bona fide corporate packages, including: official seats, food and wine, high-profile guest speakers and more.

CN met some of the key team members involved in delivering match day hospitality at Edgbaston in Birmingham ahead of the upcoming ODI and T20 match days, including the Natwest T20 Blast (Finals Day) on 23 August, the 4th Royal London ODI between England and India on 2 September, and the Natwest International T20 between England and India on 7 September.

Chief Executive, Colin Povey:
I have been the Chief Executive at Edgbaston for almost a decade now and international match days are definitely a highlight of my role; with 25,000 fans in the stadium the ground really comes to life and there is nothing quite like it.

Since we established our joint venture with Compass Group UK & Ireland in 2010, we have been able to create a consistent, high quality product which gives guests a unique and special experience as well as great value for money. Catering at Edgbaston is supplied by Keith Prowse’s catering brand, Levy Restaurants UK, the sports, leisure and hospitality division of Compass Group UK and Ireland. The company is well versed and adaptable to be able to accommodate the needs of each individual event.

We have an ever growing conference and events market all year round including weddings and Christmas parties, and very strong links with our local community so there is never a dull moment.

Hostess, Vanessa Parker:
My role is to make sure the guests have a relaxed and enjoyable day – we make sure they understand the timings and how the day will run. I enjoy meeting different people and it may sound like a cliché, but it’s the most enjoyable part of the job.

We can make a big difference to the customer’s day, particularly the hosts, by making them feel comfortable and well looked after which is so important when corporate hospitality is used to develop relationships and network. The food and service customers receive is of a high standard; we are the personality behind the day and it’s a fantastic honour to have.

Celebrity speaker, Gary Newbon:
As an experienced speaker, compere and avid sports fan, it’s great to have the chance to get up front and personal with the guests. I particularly enjoy speaking in the Warwickshire (formerly Jaguar) Suite followed closely by 1882. As far as I can remember I haven’t had to deal with any hecklers at Edgbaston. We do have to improvise occasionally though; I remember having a conversation with David Lloyd on his favourite curry house in Birmingham!

Head Chef, Dave Hill:
Creating menus for the cricket season is no mean feat. We start researching the dishes at the end of the season, and have a range of considerations that we need to bear in mind; the audience and the teams playing, time constraints, facilities, and the training of chefs from the eight-strong core kitchen team, to a brigade of 70 on match days. The biggest consideration is the international matches and making sure that the menus match the visiting teams and potential fans.

Event Manager, Deborah Smith:
We have been working on the major match days this year since the dates were confirmed by the ECB in September 2013. It starts with deciding on the package content and continues with the menu tasting and meetings with suppliers, analysing each component to develop the experience, working closely with the catering team and Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

My favourite day has to be the menu tasting selection; Dave Hill creates over 40 dishes, which need to be whittled down to 24.

This was first published in the July/August issue of CN. Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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