|The award-winning catering team from Keele Conference Park is busy preparing for the arrival of 1,800 sports-mad youngsters this summer. Three of the senior chefs have just returned from a 'food for athletes' training course and are busy preparing super nutritious menus for the young sports men and women.
Through June, July and August Keele University is the venue for both the FA Premier League Festival and the English Schools FA training camp. Teams gather at Keele from around the world and this summer the events team will welcome players aged 12 -19 from Germany, Holland, France and Italy.
Keele Head Chef Harry Swinney, who attended the training course at the University of Cardiff, is now back at The Hawthorns Restaurant and busy overseeing the menu development and improvement. He said: "The course gave us a better understanding of the nutritional elements of a sportsman's intake such as the balance of protein and carbohydrates and the calorific value of foods. We are now working with the team coaches to create menus for the youngsters which will help improve their sporting performance. Of course the challenge is to devise a nutritious yet appealing menu, within a fixed budget, that will allow the teams to play to the very best of their ability."
Harry continues: "We will be providing a choice of food and displaying information about the nutritional benefits of each dish. There will be lots of chicken, pastas and salads but alongside that we will also be offering them some 'comfort food' dishes such as shepherd's pie, casseroles and other classics."
The English Schools FA has held its summer training course at Keele Conference Park for the past 12 years. Sue Gifford explains why they return to Keele each year. "Of course the menu planning is important but our primary consideration is safety and the extensive accommodation at Keele means that we can keep everyone together within the grounds of the campus. With thirteen grass football pitches plus a leisure centre on-site, we can pack a very busy schedule into one short week. The team's experience and understanding of our requirements grows every year and they add value by ensuring that they have a good understanding of our specific requirements through programmes such as the 'food for athletes' course."
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