Sodexo and Ascot Racecourse to deliver fabulous food at a Covid-safe Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot racegoers will dine on exquisite menus from Michelin-starred chefs, as well as being able to order and buy refreshments via a new mobile phone app, as the famous five-day festival of horse racing will welcome crowds of up to 12,000 a day as part of the government’s Events Research Programme.

And while that is a fifth of crowd sizes in previous years, it still leaves challenges for the caterers – 1711 by Ascot – a joint venture between Ascot Racecourse and Sodexo’s Sports & Leisure business, as it delivers fine dining and hospitality in both the Royal Enclosure and Queen Anne Enclosure, as well as working with renowned chefs on restaurants at the course, including the Panoramic Restaurant by Raymond Blanc OBE, the Wolferton by Ollie Dabbous, ON 5 by Simon Rogan and the simply-titled Rick Stein Restaurant.

But the leading hospitality firm is innovating to deliver a Covid-safe experience, while ensuring that the world-class food and service people have come to expect remains the same.

Fine dining

There will be a dedicated server for each box, and everything will be brought to the server, with no other staff entering the box. This theme has been followed through to the restaurants, where a lead waiter will have all the interaction at the table including taking orders, serving food and clearing. Other safety measures include upweighted cleaning, Covid-testing for customers and staff, and training for teams on the new protocols.

Food and drink will also be available for order through the Ascot Food and Drink App, which guests can download to their phone via the apple store or Google Play.

Dishes in the Royal Enclosure include a seafood platter comprised of smoked chalk stream trout, poached Scottish salmon, langoustine and prawn salad; and roasted fillet of beef with truffle whipped potato and bone marrow crumble.

Ascot Racecourse’s Head of Property, Liz Pattinson and Head of Technology, George Vaughan, are just some of the 50+ expert speakers confirmed to share insights at the ALSD International conference and exhibition being hosted by Liverpool Football Club, September 6-7, 2021.

Royal Ascot at Home

For those who can’t make the event, 1711 by Ascot has created gourmet picnic hampers. These can be ordered and delivered to those who want to bring the Royal Ascot experience to wherever they are celebrating the occasion as Ascot and Sodexo strive to make this year’s event a memorable experience for everyone – even if they can’t go.

For those who can’t make the event, 1711 by Ascot has created gourmet picnic hampers. These can be ordered and delivered to those who want to bring the Royal Ascot experience to wherever they are celebrating the occasion

Chris Bray, CEO for Sodexo Sport and Leisure, said:

While this year’s Royal Ascot will be different, we will deliver our usual fantastic culinary experiences. A lot of work has gone into creating an experience that is safe, but still enjoyable and memorable. And, as it is one of the first great British summer events this year, it is really important to the industry and one the organisers hope will show confidence in the hospitality industry as it reopens.

Jonathan Parker, Managing Director of 1711 by Ascot, said:

We are really looking forward to welcoming racegoers back to Royal Ascot and to have such an incredible line-up of world-class chefs this year alongside world-class horse racing marks a very special return for the Royal Meeting. We pride ourselves on providing memorable experiences and those who will enjoy their day in Raymond, Simon, Ollie and Rick’s restaurants can expect sensational food, impeccable service and a sporting occasion like no other.

Culinary Ambassador Raymond Blanc OBE, added:

I’m very much looking forward to returning to Royal Ascot tomorrow; serving a delicious lunch and afternoon tea to my guests in the Panoramic Restaurant for a sixth year. My 2021 menu will showcase the best British produce. Welcoming back racegoers and our restaurant guests will be such a wonderful moment, and I can’t wait to bring that special ‘Raymond Blanc’ hospitality and joie de vivre back to the world’s greatest racecourse. Voila. 

Sodexo is behind other major events this summer providing fantastic culinary experiences, such as the Henley Regatta and the Chelsea Flower Show, as well as at amazing venues such as Newcastle United, Hampden Park in Glasgow and the iconic Thames river cruise, Bateaux London.

Details on 1711 By Ascot 

Hospitality at Ascot is operated as a joint venture between Ascot Racecourse and Sodexo. Sodexo and Ascot have been partners for over 20 years, 1711 by Ascot was launched in 2017 to cement the duo’s new style of partnership.

Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne and has been associated with the best in food and drink offerings for much of its 300+ year history. The name 1711 therefore reflects the royal heritage of Ascot

1711 by Ascot is responsible for providing catering, hospitality and soft service operations across the racecourse’s annual race days and further conferences and events at the venue throughout the year.

About Ascot Racecourse

Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, who identified the land as being ideal for horseracing when riding out from Windsor Castle. The first four day meeting at Ascot took place in 1768 and at some point in time, the race programme started being referred to as Royal Ascot.

The two tracks, Flat and Jumps, now provide racing all year round and Ascot hosts 26 days of racing each year, including the five days of Royal Ascot. It is Europe’s premier Flat racing meeting, featuring eight Group 1 races and 19 Group races in total. Typically, 300,000 racegoers attend across the five days while the event is broadcast in more than 200 territories with a reach of 650 million households.

As well as world-class racing, Ascot Racecourse is also used as a film and TV filming location and as a venue for conferences, banquets, exhibitions, product launches and weddings, with 300 non-racing events annually. The land on which Ascot Racecourse sits is leased from the Crown Estate, adjacent to Windsor Great Park, covering 179 acres.

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The next edition of ALSD International is being hosted by Liverpool Football Club September 6-7 and will feature a high-level conference, exhibition and networking events, as well as technical tours of Anfield, Everton’s Goodison Park and M&S Bank Arena on the ACCL campus. 

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