We all know that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. When that man is a professional rugby player, making sure he’s getting the right kind of food can be a tricky proposition – especially when he’s cooking for himself.
The pace of modern life can often make us reluctant to spend too much time preparing meals. As such, Bath Rugby Academy Director Danny Grewcock wanted to ensure that his young charges would learn – and value – the art of cooking.
The prestigious Bertinet Kitchen, which has featured on television screens across the globe, has been a culinary haven for Bath Rugby players of late. Organised by The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA), the Academy cohort visited the Bertinet Kitchen to be given a masterclass in cooking from none other than the man himself, Richard Bertinet. During the session, the players’ eyes were opened to the fact that the preparation for a good meal can be equally rigorous as preparing for a big match.
“As a big rugby fan I am happy to do anything I can to support the Bath team,” said Bertinet, who has been described by the Telegraph as a ‘master of his craft’. “Obviously the boys need to eat healthily to maximise their performance but I wanted to show them that food can still be fun. We focused on recipes including lots of protein and vegetables but which were both delicious and easy to make.”
The main meal the Academy were tasked with making was an exotic chicken dish known as a Cape Malay curry, inspired by Bertinet’s travels to South Africa. The choice of meat was an easy one, since chicken is a staple of almost every single rugby players’ diet, but Bertinet was to infuse it with an infinitely more interesting twist.
Charlie Ewels, the Academy second row who recently captained the First Team, said that the tips from Bertinet had changed the way he approaches cooking. “As professional athletes, we need to put the healthiest and best-cooked foods into our bodies,” said the 19-year-old. “It was a great learning environment for us. I also didn’t even know there was such a thing as a chicken oyster!”
Budge Pountney, RPA Player Development Manager, said: “At the RPA we recognise the need for education, work experience as an important component to life around Rugby but we also feel that life skills are just as important, especially for Academy players.”
“Seeing the improvement from chopping an onion, with the skin still on it, to preparing a whole chicken and delivering a fantastic curry was unbelievable. We are very lucky to have people such as Richard Bertinet who can deliver such an impressive evening of cooking and preparation.”
Soon after the masterclass took place, Bertinet received a message from one of the players’ girlfriends. “She wanted to let me know that he is a changed man and she has even been treated to a home-cooked dinner!”
For more information on the Bertinet Kitchen, visit www.thebertinetkitchen.com.
Find out more about the RPA by visiting www.therpa.co.uk.