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Behind the scenes of one of Christchurch’s biggest event.

Lydia Clarke

Over 23,000 people attended New Zealand’s Cup Day, but how much preparation actually goes into making an event like this?

On Tuesday most Canterbrians were celebrating in style which included getting dressed up, drinking, eating and of course watching the races.

But this wasn’t quite the case for Addington Raceway’s head chef Graeme Jones. He was working a 17 hour day to keep all 23,000 people fed and happy.

Arguably one of Cup Day’s most hectic jobs, Jones said he’s now in his ninth year and he knows what he’s doing.

“It’s all about working together and getting on with the job, there is no point in arguing or getting stressed,” Jones said.

“But there is a lot more preparation that goes into this event than the normal person realises”

Jones explained that there is a huge amount of food that is needed for an event like this.

Below is a video, showing some of the quantities.

“It’s a bit bigger than your usual weekly shop at Pak ‘n’ Save” Jones laughed.

“I actually go into hibernation for a couple of days just to work out the quantities of food that’s required to feed over 4000 corporates and then there is the public side of it as well.”

There are 500 staff required to run Cup Day, which includes over 70 chefs in the kitchen.

Jones explains that he starts planning for this day 10 months in advance and food the the event starts arriving two weeks in advance.

“But we keep it ‘fresh is best’ as much as we can. The dry foods will arrive first and then food like oysters and strawberries will arrive the day before.”

“It’s Addington Raceways biggest day of the year and I think its South Islands biggest one day event.”

Event consultant at Addington Raceway, Tony Russell said the infrastructure for this event is huge.

“The whole infrastructure will start early to mid-October with the big marquees going up, then after Melbourne Cup Day the rest of the infrastructure goes up. So, there’s over 100 marquees that will be set up throughout Addington Raceway.” Russell said.

“What helps us is all the planning, like we will have Continental and a great timeline of when everything comes in.”

Russell said in terms of the infrastructure, they are planning from year to year.

“On Cup day we are making notes about what infrastructure needs to change for next year, if we can move something a metre, we will literally go change the plan.”

Graeme Jones agreed the construction of the event is huge.

“A lot of people just turn up on the day, they go out and get themselves all dressed up but what goes into the construction of a day like this, its massive!”