All eyes on Wembley Stadium during International Series

The guys who took the field in the NFL’s International Series matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t the only players to arrive in London that week.

With Delaware North Sportservice serving as the food, beverage and retail partner of the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Executive Chef Andy Altomare was among those who made the journey to London’s Wembley Stadium, where Delaware North operates food and beverage services. Altomare was welcomed by Executive Head Chef of Hospitality Mark Reynolds.

Throughout the week, a variety of reporters from Buffalo were interested in Western New York’s connection to the iconic Wembley Stadium and all that goes into preparing for and delivering an American football experience.

“A company that has been around for 100 years operates simultaneously in Buffalo and England, and the way they’re celebrating is by uniting two operations separated by a large pond,” said, Western New York’s CBS affiliate. “Delaware North, an international organization, controls the food service in both the Ralph Wilson Stadium, the First Niagara Center and Wembley Stadium in London. Officials with the company say they’ve only been in business in England for about a decade, but it has been successful.”

WIVB ran several pieces about the dynamics of Delaware North’s operation at Wembley and how things change when the NFL comes to town, as it has since 2007. Among those to be interviewed for the stories were Reynolds, Food and Beverage Director Daniel Clark, Concessions Chef Garry Kneale and GuestPath® Business Partner Emma Noble – all of whom noted spending time in Delaware North’s hometown, Buffalo, in advance of Sunday’s tilt.

“People always make me feel at home over there, and my gesture here is to make people feel at home when they come to our stadium here in Wembley,” Noble said, referring to her Business trips to Buffalo, in a piece that can be read here:

As for the food, Delaware North’s culinary team at the stadium adds a bit of flavor from both Jacksonville and Buffalo – in addition to offering a taste of London, of course.

“We’re going to have all the local things. But we’re going to make our Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills fans feel very, very welcome – cheerleading along the way,” Reynolds said. “We want to make it a special experience for people who traveled over the pond to come here.”

And then there are the players. Professional athletes, of course, have specific dietary needs.

Altomare, whose culinary team works closely with the Bills’ nutritionists to feed the players, has been working with the executive chef at the hotel in London that has been housing the team this week.

“We started planning in June, traveled over here to the hotel in England and met with the culinary team,” Altomare told WIVB in a video segment that can be seen here: “From there we decided what to ship. We didn’t ship anything refrigerated; everything we shipped is dry and had to come over through a cargo freighter. We want to make the transition as easy as possible coming from Orchard Park (a suburb of Buffalo) to London. We always use fresh, organic, real food as much as possible. No imitation. We’re using the gardens here at the hotel.”

This is the Bills’ first appearance at the new Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have played one game of the home portion of their schedule in Wembley since 2013 and will continue to do so through at least the 2016 season.