Complete coverage of the Chicago NATO Summit

McCormick Place Chef Tasked With Feeding 19,000

Chef Vincent Lai is preparing to serve VIPs from around the world at the 2012 NATO Summit

By Allison Preston and LeeAnn Trotter
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 12:27 AM CDT
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The NATO Summit is not only about politics and protests. There's also the task of feeding everyone, and one man is in charge of keeping the crowds at McCormick Place satiated. LeeAnn Trotter reports.

The NATO Summit is not only about politics and protests. There's also the task of feeding everyone, and one man is in charge of keeping the crowds at McCormick Place satiated. LeeAnn Trotter reports.

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Chef Vincent Lai has a big job on his hands.

This weekend's NATO Summit brings the responsibility of keeping roughly 19,000 VIPs from around the world well-fed.

Although there will be the added pressure of not only serving a large group but a highly important group, the convention center's Director of Culinary Services said Tuesday's that he's not worried.

"Every client that walks into McCormick Place is a VIP for us," said Lai. "And of course we pay attention to detail. That’s the most important part."

Visitors to the Summit will be able to sample Chicago favorites such as deep-dish pizza, Italian beef and Chicago style hot dogs.

However, Lai plans to focus on a lighter fare featuring locally-produced ingredients

Though Lai cannot reveal the dishes he plans to serve, he said they will be similar to dishes he already makes, such as chile crusted Great Lake white fish, lentil salad with organic char and miso-crusted scallops with fingerling potato confit.

Food services will also be available around the clock from early breakfasts to late night snacks.

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