Saturday, May 17, 2008
Army of athletes Marches on stomach
Victoria restaurateur hungry for gold medals
Gary Kingston, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, May 17, 2008
With two young children at home and a busy restaurant to run in Victoria, young chef Cosmo Meens' playing days are limited.
That's tough for a guy who says that while he wouldn't call himself an athlete, he's "definitely athletic."
Yoga he can still find time for. But he does less mountain biking than he used to. And those pickup basketball games and afternoons on a snowboard? They just don't happen as regularly as they once did.
Nonetheless, Meens is headed to Beijing in August with what he calls a unique opportunity to be part of the Olympic Games.
Triathlon Canada, at the urging of 2000 Olympic gold medallist Simon Whitfield, has hired Meens to cook for the squad -- likely six athletes, plus a coach and five support staff -- at the villa they've rented within walking distance of the Olympic venue where the gruelling swim-bike-run discipline will take place.
For Meens, who shares similar views on diet and health with the fastidious Whitfield, it's like being a kid in a candy store. Or, in his case, a raw-food afficionado at an organic farm market.
When Whitfield won gold in Japan last month at an International Triathlon Union World Cup, Meens says he "was more excited about that than any other athlete doing anything since the Oilers winning the Stanley Cup" when he was a kid.
"I have the potential to be part of an Olympic team," says Meens, now 29.
"Simon was feeling that taking the pressure off the athletes and the coaches by having a chef come and focus on [making nutritional meals] would be a benefit to the team, give them a leg up, even."
Meens is already so attuned to the team concept that he confidently proclaims: "I think we are going to win."
Triathlon head coach Joel Filliol says while the athletes, many of whom have eaten at Meens' trendy Mo:Le restaurant, like his "organic, clean, unprocessed type of food," the motorcycle-riding chef is also a neat guy to have around.
"Liking his food is a big part of it, but he's also got the right kind of energy and attitude for our team."
Says Whitfield: "You want to be around this guy. He's one cool dude. He rolls up on his Triumph motorbike wearing this blue helmet and orange leather jacket that only he could pull off. It's the Cosmo."
Read the full article at the Vancouver Sun
at 5:35 PM