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'Bickles' for Birmingham

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Chef Karl Thomas will spice things up for the contingent of Jamaican athletes to the Olympics in London. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer
Chef Karl Thomas will spice things up for the contingent of Jamaican athletes to the Olympics in London. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

WHEN the starter pulls back the trigger for the explosive start of London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Jamaica's sprint stars will have one less thing to worry about.

Apart from pure adrenaline pumping through their veins, sinewed muscles built on solid ground provisions from 'yard' will be powering them to the finish line.

"That's a guarantee," voiced celebrated chef Karl Thomas, who has the enviable job of seeing to the athletes' nutritional needs while they are in training camp in Birmingham.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a furore erupted in the Jamaican camp as many athletes were unhappy with the foods provided by the host nation, and their dissent reverberated far and wide.

London 2012 will be different. Chef Thomas will travel with the athletes and has been commissioned by Grace Kitchens to prepare and execute a 2,500-calorie-per-day menu consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

All menu items are totally Jamaican - down to the thyme, ginger and Scotch bonnet pepper, he shared with Food at a planning session held at Lilian's Restuarant at the University of Technology recently.

"I have developed three sets of menus, all incorporating Jamaican foods and beverages. After consultation with the athletes themselves and food, nutrition and lifestyle consultant, Dr Heather Little-White, all is ready," said the chef who won Grace's Creative Cooking Chef's Challenge in 2009.

Comprehensive programme

Grace Food and Service, in partnership with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), has taken on this challenge.

Promotion and consumer services manager, Grace Foods, Angella Grandison-Reid, told Food that the company's involvement was two-pronged: "To create a comprehensive nutritional programme to help our athletes execute outstanding performances, and continue to showcase Brand Jamaica."

Endorsing this view, Chef Thomas said that the recipes he selected aim to provide certain minerals and nutrients to help the development of strong muscle mass.

"Proteins in Jamaican recipes help to build muscles, while the calcium in the Jamaican recipes is good for the bones. Proteins help to repair muscles and other body tissues, so after performance, you need to have the right combination of proteins by consuming a great Jamaican food recipe to repair muscles and other body tissues," he explained.

Thomas has over 13 years' experience as a professional chef, and has worked at a number of top local hotels, as well as providing catering services for numerous events for corporate organisations.


With this awesome responsibility, and with less than three months to the Olympic, Chef Thomas went shopping. Food went along, and glanced at the list of produce in bulk that will be shipped to the old English industrial town of Birmingham.


ITEM                                      QUANTITY (POUNDS)

Yellow yam                                 242

Banana (green)                        728

Banana (ripe)                        2,856

Cho Cho                                     16

Mangoes                                  750

Pumpkin                                  119

Potato (sweet)                       164

Potato (Irish)                          228

Pineapples                            783

Cabbage                                  62

broccoli                                    90

Thyme                                      17

Tomato                                  178

Ackee                                    120


Goat head                              30

Oxtail                                       60

Mutton                                     80

Pig's tail                                 20

Pork chops                           40

Salt fish                                 90

Beef                                     155

Chicken whole                  180

Chicken breast                 324

Liver                                      75

CHEF THOMA'S MENU (at a glance)

Monday July 16th 2012

70 Persons


Hot Cereal

Grace Corn Meal Porridge

Hot Beverage

Grace Roma Cocoa


Grace teas (assorted

Fresh fruit platter (assorted

Pastries (assorted)

Grace Juices (aloe, blends, chilling)

Main meal

Grace Ackee and salt fish

Braised liver

Grace Smoked Bacon

Steamed Callaloo

Grace Johnny Cake

Boiled green bananas

Fried ripe plantain

Tuesday July 17th, 2012

70 persons


Hot Cereal

Grace Banana Porridge

Hot Beverage

Grace Roma Cocoa


Grace Teas (assorted

Fresh fruit Platter (assorted)

Grace Juices (aloe, blends, chillin)

Main Meal

Escoveitched Fish

Brown stew chicken with Grace Green Peas

Grace Honey Glazed Ham

Steamed cabbage

Grace Festival

Boiled yellow yam

Fried bammies

Wednesday July 18th, 2012

70 person



Grace Vegetable


salad Bar (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, corn)

Carrots and Raisin salad

Yam salad

Fresh fruit platter (assorted

Main meal

Grilled chicken with a Grace Blends Sorrel Pomegranate Glaze

Pan seared fish with a Tomato Relish

Stew Peas with Pigs Tail fresh beef

Rice and Peas

Pasta Primavera

Grilled Vegetables


Grace Corn Meal Pudding

Blueberry Cheese Cake

Thursday July 19th, 2012

70 persons



Grace pepper Pot


Salad Bar (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, corn)

Carrots and Raisin salad

Cold Slaw

Fresh fruit platter (assorted)

Main meal

Grace Jerk Barbecue Chicken

Baked fish with julienne vegetables and a Grace Coconut curry sauce

Brown Stew Mutton

Seasoned Rice

Garlic Mash Potatoes

Broccoli au gratin


Bread Pudding

Orange Chiffon cake

Monday July 16th, 2012

70 persons



Red Peas


salad bar (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, corn)

Carrots and Raisin salad

Sweet pasta salad

Fresh fruit platter (assorted)

Main Meal

Jerk Chicken

Steamed fish with Grace Coconut Milk

Braised Oxtail with Grace Butter Beans

Pumpkin Rice

Roast Yam

Glazed Carrots


Sweet Potato Pudding

Chocolate Cake

Tuesday, July 17th 2012

70 Persons



Grace Pumpkin Beef


Salad bar (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, corn)

Carrots and Raisin salad

Pasta salad

Fresh fruit platter (assorted)

Main meal

Baked Chicken

Brown Stew Fish

Curried Goat

Rice and Peas

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sauted broccoli with toasted Almond


Grace Corn Meal Pudding

Passion Fruit Cheese cake