Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Time to eat - How Chef Karl Thomas feeds Jamaica's champions

Published:Thursday | August 3, 2017 | 8:00 AM
Four hundred metre hurdler Leah Nugent takes a sip of her Grace Coconut water before enjoying Grace jerk barbecue chicken, seasoned rice and herb roasted potato.
Olympian Warren Weir helps himself to the delicious spread prepared by chef Karl Thomas at the University of Birmingham.
Herb roasted sweet potato.
Chef Karl Thomas demonstrates how to peel yam to Catherine Darkins supervisor chef at the University of Birmingham.
Dr Warren Blake, President of the JAAA, helps himself to some of the delicious dishes.
Baked fish with julienne vegetables and a Grace Coconut Curry Sauce.
Chef Karl Thomas shares a joke with 400-metre runner Novlene Williams-Mills.
It was chef Karl Thomas' responsible to keep our athletes well fed during their training camp.
Grace jerked barbecue chicken, with side salad and herb roasted sweet potato.
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Chef Karl Thomas spent the last few weeks at the Birmingham University, where he has been preparing delicious and nutritious Jamaican dishes for the Jamaican athletes while they are in training camp in preparation for the IAAF World Championships.

Chef Karl Thomas demonstrates how to peel yam to Catherine Darkins supervisor chef at the University of Birmingham.-Ricardo Makyn.

This is not Thomas' first stint with the Jamaican athletes, so he did what he does best. He explained to Food, "To try as best as I possibly can to give good quality food, courtesy of GraceKennedy Foods, at the highest possible standard. This included, but was not limited to, making sure the food is always on time for whatever meal period it is; that the meals looked familiar; and even more importantly, tasted familiar."


Chef Karl Thomas shares a joke with 400-metre runner Novlene Williams-Mills. -Ricardo Makyn.
Ricardo Makyn

It was chef Karl Thomas' responsible to keep our athletes well fed during their training camp.
Grace jerked barbecue chicken, with side salad and herb roasted sweet potato.
 

Making sure the athletes are well fed before the games is not a responsibility he takes lightly. "It was important for me to be there during that time to make sure that they received the best possible nutrition while training."

It was chef Karl Thomas' responsible to keep our athletes well fed during their training camp.-Ricardo Makyn.

He ensured that there was a wide selection for each meal which will include juices, courtesy of GK Foods, a selection of starches, vegetables and protein for the athletes to choose from. "It was standard for each meal period that we had a chicken and fish dish, but we also provided an additional meat option, as some athletes would have needed to bulk up on protein and some persons may need to go heavy on vegetable or starch, depending on the energy that they wanted to acquire."

Olympian Warren Weir helps himself to the delicious spread prepared by chef Karl Thomas at the University of Birmingham.-Ricardo Makyn.

They had some Jamaican favourites, including yam, johnnycakes, and plantains for the athletes to enjoy on a daily basis. The favourite dish has been the oxtail cooked with Grace Butter Beans, "They can't seem to get enough of that," he told Food adding, " I actually prepared this again for their final day at camp, as a treat, so that everyone could really enjoy themselves before leaving camp. We ended up preparing 50 pounds of oxtail and beans as a part of the brunch menu." Bread and cornmeal puddings are also on the menu.

He shared that the athletes looked forward to every meal. "If I saw them at breakfast, it's, 'Hi, chef. Morning. What's for lunch?' When I came back for lunch, it's, 'Good afternoon, chef. How you doing? What's for dinner?' Arriving for dinner, 'Good evening, chef. Everything OK? What's for breakfast?' And the cycle continued over and over and over again."