SEA Games: A menu that suits all

For athletes taking part in major sporting competitions such as the South-east Asia (SEA) Games, food nutrition is as important as putting the long hours in training.

Michael Phelps can bear testament to that, as he wolfed down 12,000 calories as part of his training for the 2012 London Olympics.

The American swim king won four gold and two silver medals in the end.

While no one is expecting the 7,000 athletes from 11 countries to emulate Phelps' enormous intake at next month's SEA Games, they can expect to have their fill of food and action.

For two years, the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc), together with the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI), have worked together to develop a detailed menu for athletes, officials and volunteers.

At a food tasting session at the Swissotel yesterday, Dr Kristy Fairbairn, Head of Sports Nutrition at the SSI, said: "We not only worked among ourselves, but also with the athletes, officials and workforce volunteers to create this menu.


"Careful planning and consideration have allowed for a wide variety of dishes with high and low fibre options for different sporting requirements, as well as considerations for food allergies and options for the religious and individual needs of athletes."

The effort put in is reflected in the standardised menu - comprising pan- seared beef cubes, pasta and local favourites such as mee soto and chicken rice - which will be rolled out across the 20 hotels hosting the athletes.

Over 120 recipes have been developed, and these dishes will be rotated daily for the three meals from May 24 to June 18.

Spearheading the operations is chef Kenneth Francisco, who was the head of culinary operations for Team Singapore at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and 2012 Olympics.

"On my part, I need to make sure everything about the food - safety, hygiene, delivery - is all smooth," he said.

"But, most importantly, the food has to taste good. What we do is going to reflect the reputation of Singapore, because we are the team behind the team."

National sprinter Calvin Kang, who was present at the food-tasting session yesterday, likes the stir-fried prawns and beef.

"The food served at previous Games (Indonesia 2011 and Myanmar 2013) doesn't come close (to what is being offered at this Games)," he said.

"Athletes need a lot of protein, and you can see it in the menu.

"They have some local flavour in it and that's a plus point."

This article was first published on May 6, 2015.
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