Okay, let me immediately 'fess up' that as a long-time Arsenal fan (or make that Thierry Henry) it didn't take much persuading to accompany Chef Collin Brown to the Emirates Stadium, home of Britain's most successful football club, Arsenal, located at 75 Drayton Park, London, N5, and to unearth the club's chef who has the enviable task of feeding not only the players and spectators but also the owners. This stadium will, come August 16, host the Jamaica 50 Gala and Dinner Awards Banquet for a thousand people. We're not divulging the menu in its entirety but we can tell you this much, the catering team, led by Ralph Hunt, is pulling out all the stops to ensure that the event will be a memorable one.
First things first: the food should be spicy enough, and who better to execute this than the Caribbean's only double AA Rosette holder Chef Collin Brown. Do not be fooled, chefs hold each other in high esteem and are respectful of each other's kitchen space. Kitchens are though the space where all cultures meet and invariably find common ground, so very soon all three chefs are busy, laughing, tasting, stirring and teasing each other.
Executive Head Chef - Emirates Stadium, Arsenal FC Derek Tingey has the kind of job every aspiring culinary student dreams of. Formerly of Chelsea FC, this jovial individual helms a team of 60 lead chefs for each of the Club's restaurants including the much-vaunted private Diamond Club where celeb chef Raymond Blanc consults on the menu. There are four thousand patrons to feed in season, including post-match fare for the players. Tingey has to maintain his cool at all times (even when he bites into a Scotch bonnet pepper). Thankfully his executive sous chef is nearby to offer solace.
So what do the players consume? "Grilled sea bass in abundance, chicken pasta and an array of fruits", we are told. A tour of the hallowed grounds follow which we'll share later on, but for now if you ever find yourself at Arsenal, take it from us the food, private boxes and the Diamond Club are as impressive as the beautiful game.
Arsenal v Sunderland
18th August 2012
Tomato soup, croutons, basil pesto (Vegan)
Confit Shetland Island salmon, pea & mint salad, lemon vinaigrette
Smoked free range Poulet Noir chicken Caesar salad,
cos lettuce, anchovy, garlic dressing
Traditional fish & chips;
Beer battered Norwegian cod, beef dripping fried chips, minted peas, gribiche sauce
Chargrilled aged rib eye Aberdeenshire steak,
Lyonnaise potatoes, mushrooms fricassee, red wine jus
Roast free range Norfolk chicken, polenta cake, ratatouille, sauce epice
RB's roasted sweet Romano pepper, tabbouleh,
Confit artichoke, spiced pepper jus (Vegan)
Will be served at half time
RB's Tahiti vanilla crème brûlée, shortbread biscuit
Valrhona Guanaja chocolate delice, spiced Morello cherries, roasted almonds
Selection of continental farmhouse cheese, biscuits, dried fruits, & grapes
Raymond Blanc, Head Chef Oleg Ibragimov, Restaurant Manager Mauricio Martinez
& their team would like to wish you bon appéti
Non Vintage Champagne
Laurent Perrier NV
Chablis, Domaine de la Genillotte, 2010, Burgundy, France
Vermentino, Colli di Luni, Cantina Lunae, V.Q.P.R.D. 2010, Italy
Sancerre Rose, 2010, Domaine Fernand Girard, Loire, France
Querciabella Mongrana, 2009, Maremma, Toscana, Italy, IGT
Bourgogne Pinot Fin, 2008, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux, Burgundy, France
Muldefbosh late Harvest, Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, Stellenbosch, S Africa