CulinArt Group Hosts Pope Francis and The World Meeting of Families - CulinArt Group

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Pope Francis greets CulinArt Group employees at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., during his recent U.S. visit.

CulinArt Group Hosts Pope Francis and The World Meeting of Families

NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA—As the flag of the Vatican was raised at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in the early morning hours of Friday, September 25, 2015, a large team of CulinArt Group managers, chefs, kitchen staff and servers were already hard at work within the multi-building complex on this second day of the UN General Assembly. Prior to His formal address to the largest gathering of presidents and prime ministers ever at the United Nations, Pope Francis took time to publicly thank the vast number of UN employees, calling them “in many ways, the backbone of this organization.” He made specific mention of the “cooks,” which was an early indication of just how much the Pontiff appreciates quality food and first-rate hospitality.

On Saturday, September 26, the Papal delegation departed NYC en route to Philadelphia, where Pope Francis concluded His six-day Apostolic Journey in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. Here, CulinArt Group had the remarkable opportunity to not only, once again, meet the Pontiff face-to-face, but the prodigious fortune to prepare and serve Pope Francis and the Papal delegation not one, but four meals at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. A CulinArt client since 2010, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary is a rich resource of priestly formation and theological instruction for religious and lay men and women throughout the United States.

With the New York team still fast at work on the events surrounding the UN General Assembly, CulinArt’s Philadelphia region managers, chefs and staff, under the expert guise and supervision of Harry Williamson and Joseph Salvato, prepared and served lunch and dinner for the delegation on Saturday, September 26 followed by breakfast and lunch on Sunday, September 27.

Weeks of advance preparation, menu planning and meetings with representatives of The World Meeting of Families, including private tastings with members of the Papal delegation, provided CulinArt with the insight needed to create menus befitting the worldwide leader of the Catholic Church.  CulinArt’s menus focused on fresh local ingredients and were presented with the perfect balance of familiarity and refinement.  “He is a simple man and his diet is simple,” said event producer Fred Stein of the Creative Group, which oversaw much of the Pope’s visit. “When He’s at the Vatican he eats with everyone else at the cafeteria buffet.” Thus, it was important to CulinArt that the Pontiff’s meals were distinguished yet comfortable.

CulinArt Group received many warm accolades following Pope Francis’s stay at Saint Charles. Donna Farrell, executive director for the World Meeting of Families, shared with Williamson, assistant vice president for CulinArt Group, “You and your team did a phenomenal job. It was absolutely incredible.” Stephen P. Dolan Jr., Chief Financial Officer of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, who wished he could thank each and every participating CulinArt Group team individually, stated, “We appreciated all you and your staff did for us this weekend.  I don’t know how this could have been done any better. The guys and ladies you had here this weekend are a true tribute to CulinArt.  They were all so gracious and welcoming and always with a smile. I know everyone worked long hours and they still were smiling yesterday. Please tell each of them how much we appreciated what they did for us.” Perhaps the greatest accolade of all came from Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who told Williamson, “I hope you do the food service in heaven.”

We at CulinArt Group are extremely proud to have shared in Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States. We are equally proud of our team members in New York and Pennsylvania, who represented themselves and their company so extraordinarily well.

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  • October 21, 2015
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What our clients are saying

“Even though we see challenges every day, each one of you rises to the occasion and makes it seem so easy. I cannot express how impressive it is to see you all work in such a fashion. You are true professionals.”

“Just a note to let you know that you ROCK! You always pour yourself into [The] Webb [Schools] to make the dining experience the very best it can be. I’ve been hearing such positive things about the food quality this year – something I hope you feel really good about. And it is times like this with the Coronavirus that leaders truly emerge. You have been unbelievably accommodating in making last minute changes to how we serve, etc. and all else we do in the dining hall and I just want you to know how much I deeply appreciate your devotion to this special community. You are a key part of it – you model beautifully the very best of Webb. So thank you!!”

“Thank you and your staff for all the care and thought you give CSW adults and students. You approach events with such care and elegance- I don’t know how you do it! Especially day after day. Please thank all your staff for their wonderful work and kind manner with all of us. Here is to a great year!”

“I just wanted to give a huge compliment to the cook at Main Street. Today I had the Salmon Super Bowl and it was amazing!!!! Every day I go in there she always has something that looks too wonderful to pass up! Thank you for always having such a variety of food!”

“Just want to take a moment to thank you for running such a great kitchen. It’s been a huge benefit to have such a delicious and various assortment of foods to choose from, all without having to leave the building. I’m always amazed at the daily variety and the quality of food that is offered. The cafeteria has made my food choices as easy as can be.”

“We are so thankful and so impressed by your immediate attention to our power outage. It was such a relief to see all the equipment and workers coming in within a few hours of the outage. Thank you for serving dinner to all [the] students in a very difficult circumstance. Please extend our thanks to your workers who braved cold weather to grill hamburgers and hotdogs.”

“The dinner I had tonight at Forman was not only the best meal I have had at Forman in the entire time I have been here, it was the best meal I can remember having anywhere in a long time. [It] was a restaurant quality meal, and it added to the enjoyment that the two young ladies serving me could not have been more charming. What an energizing way to finish a weekend eating a dinner like that.”

“With all the prep work from Winterim ramping up and classes continuing as usual, it's a busy time to be a Forman teacher. Imagine my delight, tired as I was, when I delved into the upscale-restaurant-quality chicken parmesan our dining hall served last night. Forman is all about support, and providing our students with a dinner of that quality is just as important a measure of support as anything that happens in a classroom.”

“I wanted to take this moment to thank you and your staff for making the Athletic Celebration absolutely wonderful. I cannot say enough great things about the event. The food was outstanding and the service was fantastic. Thank you for your help from start to finish.”

“What a difference a top chef makes to student satisfaction and enjoyment of campus life!  At a recent boarding school conference, food was mentioned as a key retention method and it is really true. The comforts of home are found in good food and meals enjoyed with friends. We couldn’t be more pleased with the healthy and delicious daily options presented by our chef and his team. Frank even has a suggestion box, so he is always open to new ideas and he even offers cooking classes for our students!”

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