TdF PEZ: What’s For Dinner?
It’s not everyday you see a chef at a bike race. I got even more curious when I saw a chef on the CSC truck cramming condiments into a musette. Filling the musette wasn’t too odd – but I wanted to know why he was doing it at 6:00PM. So I took a few minutes of his time to find out what was cooking…
Soroen is the Danish chef for CSC. On the road for over 100 days a year, he has one of the toughest jobs in pro cycling – keeping the troops well fed. That’s no small task given that he is cooking in the strange kitchens of a different hotel each night. Catering to the tastes of riders who come from a variety of international and culinary backgrounds and tastes only adds to the challenge.
So what is the CSC secret to hospitality? The team is generous in handing out souvenirs to make sure they are welcomed in the hotel kitchens as they travel from town to town. And to keep the riders happy, Soroen makes sure the food arrives on time and the rice or pasta isn’t overcooked.
Soroen emerges from the confines of the team bus.
For dinner after stage 1 Soroen was preparing a green salad with white asparagus, chicken breast in a wine sauce with potatoes, and a mixed fruit salad for desert. And that was what all the other teams in the tour would be getting as well. Apparently this year the tour has arranged for all the teams to get the same menu. What’s next – everyone riding Michelins???
As he listed the gourmet meal he was preparing for that evening I asked who controlled the riders’ diets. The team has a nutritionist in Denmark that works with the riders and provides advice on diet. One of the pieces of advice I received is don’t skip breakfast….my stomach was growling in rebellion as he spoke.
For his part Soroen makes sure the lads have a diet that is low in fat. Sweets get a little more latitude though, as the breakfast table has its share of jams, honey and sweet rolls… dare we say ‘danishes’…to help the riders with their energy stores for the race ahead.
A well-stocked musette bag can probably go a long way for the mental health of a rider on a hard stage.
And what is in those musettes? Well the lads are treated to Soroen’s baked goods. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t eat power bars and gels like the rest of us – those are in the bag as well. And for drinks? Some of the lads prefer just water, others have sports drinks. With all the talk about food I took the opportunity to ask a chef who travels the world for his sport what country had the best cuisine. Italy he said – light and healthy.
So there you have it – bon appetit! And thanks to CSC for having us in their kitchen!