Ipswich Turf Club head chef Mark Little of Lockyer Waters is preparing for a hectic day in the kitchen on Ipswich Cup day.
Ipswich Turf Club head chef Mark Little of Lockyer Waters is preparing for a hectic day in the kitchen on Ipswich Cup day. David Nielsen

Mega cook up for Cup Day masses

NEXT time you're rustling up a dinner party or cooking something to nibble on while you're watching the game, picture doing it for 20,000 people.

Ipswich Turf Club head chef Mark Little and the club's food and beverage manager Glynn Haslam face up to that next Saturday.

Ipswich Cup Day is the grand final of dinner parties for the turf club's culinary couple and their scores of staff.

Feeding the hungry hordes on Cup Day involves huge quantities of everything.

Try digesting the numbers just for the finger food served up in the trackside marquees:

10,200 sushi pieces.

10,200 salad wraps.

16,043 prawn cones.

19,078 King Island beef pies.

19,128 chicken dim sims.

18,778 vegetable spring rolls.

19,678 petite sausage rolls.

Total: 113,105 pieces of food.

Other big food numbers to boggle the mind and excite the stomach include 1000kg of chips and 80kg of duck breast.

No wonder there's 40 chefs and 400 catering staff.

Glynn Haslam said he put in the orders this week but the planning started in January.

“Every year things go wrong but it's how you fix them that makes the difference,” he said.

Mark Little from Lockyer Waters spent 20 years at Eagle Farm racecourse before coming to Ipswich five years ago to “semi-retire”.

“I'd suggest it's bigger than Stradbroke Day,” he said.

“I've got experience and between what Glynn does and I do it works out well.

“I certainly see this as a challenge every year. From a professional point of view, you have to. Otherwise you get blasé.

“I have the staff come in on the day and if they say they're not nervous, I say: ‘Why not?'

“I have a reputation for carrying a big stick but this is the one day of the year. It's the Ipswich Cup.”

Basking in the calm before the culinary storm yesterday, he said was amused by the proliferation of TV cooking shows.

“There are better chefs out there but my job is also about the economics,” he said.

“I see those shows on TV when they take an hour and a half to cook something and I say: ‘Okay, do 350 of them'.”



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