The U.S. sent 230 athletes to Sochi this year, its largest contingent to any Winter Olympic Games ever. That means not only a large logistical challenge to overcome but a food one as well.
We’ve seen many stories released on the preparation for the Sochi Games, but it might surprise you to learn just how much preparation has to be done just to feed that many athletes on the other side of the globe.
U.S. Ski & Snowboarding Chef Allen Tran (who cooks for the Alpine, snowboarding, freesking and Nordic teams) has been — just like the athletes he feeds – in competition mode himself since the beginning of the games. Word has spear-headed back to the States that there’s been a “battle with the Koreans,” over groceries — the group from southeast Asia reportedly bought out all the rice noodles in Sochi, spending more than $35,000 in the process. Chef Tran said they’ve found an alternative market though and because they were well prepared they’ve been able to get by.
To cook for the athletes, Tran bought rice noodles (we’re assuming from that “alternative market”), chicken, flour, sugar, salmon, and Asian fish sauce. Before leaving for Sochi, the team also packed hundreds of pounds of equipment, spices and items they knew they wouldn’t be able to find in Russia, including 16 bottles of Sriracha and maple syrup for pancakes. The Americans also brought a water filtering system that they use to wash all the local ingredients they buy.
A few fun-filled facts about our U.S. Olympians and their eating habits:
You want some sweet Olympic recipes? Wait no further.
Chef Allen Tran partnered with Blue Diamond Almonds prior to the Olympics to ensure the athletes would have unfettered access to one of their favorite snacks – raw almonds. Here are a couple of his masterpieces:
1 bag milk, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup Blue Diamond Dark Chocolate or Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Almonds, coarsely chopped
24 Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins, coarsely broken
Line 18 mini muffin cups with paper liners; set aside
Place chocolate in large microwave safe bowl; microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate is mostly melted; stir until completely melted.
Stir in remaining ingredients and spoon equal amounts into prepared muffin cups
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2-3 minutes
Makes 18 cups
This is the official U.S. Ski Team granola recipe.
8 cups rolled oats
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
Dash Kosher salt
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix first section of ingredients (oats through almonds) in a large bowl to combine.
Spread ingredients into two rimmed baking sheets, making sure there is only a thin layer of mixture on each sheet.
Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes, stirring midway, until just lightly toasted.
Remove from oven, add dried fruit and coconut.
Let granola cool, spreading out on baking sheets for a crunchy texture.
Photo credit: Kyle Kilcomons/USSA (top: Getty)