What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: Our chef Peter Cambré talks about his job in the Tour

During this 100th Tour de France Peter Cambré cooks for our nine riders together with Carol De Dobbelaere. The chefs have a kitchen truck of Kookeiland at their disposal. That vehicle didn’t make the trip to Corsica, so the first days they will have to work in the hotel kitchens.

In 2008 Peter Cambré had his first assignment at the team and he cooked in the Vuelta, in 2009 he worked for our team the entire year and went to the Tour for the first time. This season Cambré doesn’t only cook for our riders in the Tour, but also during the training camps, Paris – Nice, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Vuelta; that’s about 80 days. We talked to him about the peculiarities when cooking for a cycling team.

Peter Cambré: “As chefs we have to make sure the riders get the necessary nutrients, like carbohydrates. These have to be kept at a certain level and therefore we confer with the doctor. The strength they lose in the day, has to be built up during the meals. On top of that we have to adjust to special needs of the riders. Adam Hansen is allergic to milk products and Greg Henderson can’t eat gluten. That means he can’t eat normal bread or pasta, two products that have many carbohydrates which the riders need, we buy those products without gluten. Because of those special needs, it’s important that a team has its own kitchen team and that we can offer them a different meal.”

Before he left for France Peter Cambré bought a part of the necessary dry food at our partner Lidl. That are products which are easy to stock and have an expiration date which is still far away, like pasta, flower, canned food – e.g. olives and tuna fish – and sun dried tomatoes. They will get the main ingredients in France. Our chefs don’t only cook for our riders, but also make the lunches for the VIP’s and make small snacks for the press conferences.

Peter Cambré: “Our first concern is that all products are fresh. We get most of the products from the hotels were the team stays, we always check the quality of it. If the hotel can’t supply us, we purchase the goods ourselves. We are here with two persons. During this Tour Carol De Dobbelaere assists me, he’s a very important link between the kitchen and riders. He takes care of the service. I’m behind the stove most of the time and make the plates, Carol makes sure all riders get the correct one. He makes the work easier for me, so I can fully concentrate on cooking.”

“I do this with all my heart and completely focus on this task. The feeling that you are working for a good team result in this Tour de France is wonderful. The people at Lotto Belisol really give you the feeling that you’re an important part of the chain and that is fantastic.”

Starting Monday the Flemish radio show Tour of Beauty at MNM will call Peter Cambré each day between 12:00 and 13:00.

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