Staffers eat a little crow over menu minutiae
By Allison Sherry
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 07/09/2008 03:33:08 AM MDT
Convention catering one tall orderMustard-crusted Colorado Rack of LambMini Italian Buffalo Meatball Grinders with Marinara Sauce, Parmesan Cheese and Baby Arugula GreensRest assured: Chicken tenders and doughnuts will make appearances at the Democratic National Convention.
In the midst of media mockery and embarrassment among national Democrats that Denver had declared fried foods a party foul and had ordered multihued entrees, the Denver host committee has softened an original document that called for caterers to be "lean and green."
Local officials are now calling the 12 stipulations laid out in a May Request for Proposal to caterers "guidelines."
The May request asked caterers to make "every effort" to accomplish healthy goals and called for:
• Three-colored meals selected from the following palette: red, green, yellow, purple and white.
• Half of the plate should belong to fruits and vegetables.
• No fried foods.
• The use of 70 percent organic or Colorado-grown ingredients.
A memo, titled "Fiction Fuels Frivolous Food Fight," will be issued later this week in an attempt to bring everyone — caterers, national Democratic operatives tired of tongue-in-cheek press about it — back from the ledge.
"Maybe we didn't do a very good job on the outset," said Chris Lopez, spokesman for the Denver host committee. "We'll take criticism for not presenting it well. It's a guideline. It's a recommendation. It's not to say we have lean and green mandates."
National convention spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth was more blunt with the host group's early efforts to be healthy.
"I think putting rules in place regarding the colors of food . . . is a bit over the top," she said. "We're offering a full range of choices . . . French fries, chicken tenders, and fish and chips."
The changes come too late for a bevy of caterers who have already spent dozens of hours crafting menus that fit with the host committee's initial desires.