London Olympics 2012 Preview: The Food Scene

A preview of what pop-up restaurants, specials, and events to look out for at this year’s Olympics

When the Olympics roll around, it’s expected that patriotism is at an all-time high, particularly in the host city. And so London is rolling out all kinds of menus, events, and offerings that celebrate local fare and chefs during this year’s Summer Olympics. Everyone from British Airways to local eateries will be getting in on the action, serving classic British food and drink to visitors from all across the globe. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to let England get all the attention — McDonald’s will be opening their biggest location in the world right next to Olympic Park. So what can you expect to find this July? We’re starting the preview here and will be adding to it as more news comes together.

British Airways will be serving Olympic-inspired menus starting this month through September, which will be created by award-winning British chefs Simon Hulstone and Heston Blumenthal. The food is set to be served on long-haul flights in the World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins, and the menu is set to launch later this month.

Last year’s British Street Food Award was given to Café Mor for their flatbreads stuffed with seafood from local shores. As a result, Café Mor will be setting up shop in the Olympic Village, where they’ll be serving their sustainable fish dishes to athletes from around the world. (Photo courtesy of CaféMor)

Celebrating the start of this year’s Olympic Games, Great British Menu will host the Olympic Feast, which will bring together 24 of the country’s best chefs to compete against each other to see who can create the best menu fit for Olympians. There will be eight rounds of competitions, all aired on BBC Two, during which time the chefs will have the chance to talk with current and past Olympic athletes about what foods are prime for healthful living and success in their sports. Chefs include Paul Ainsworth, Simon Hulstone, Alan Murchison, Richard Davies, and Marcus McGuinness, who represent a wide range of restaurants and regions of the country.

Then, the Love British Food festival shifted its dates to coincide with the Olympics, which will be the perfect respite for food lovers attending the games.  It runs from July 27 to Aug. 12.

That Indian food is among the most popular cuisines in England is no big secret, so local Indian eateries are jumping on the Olympics bandwagon, too. Salaam Namaste in Russell Square and Namaste Kitchen in Camden are both rolling out Indian Olympics-themed dishes. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/RMFranke)

And last, but certainly not least — the behemoth-sized McDonald’s that’s going up next door to Olympic Park. Here are the stats: It will be more than 32,000 square feet on two floors, with 1,500 seats. They’ll employ 470 staffers who expect to serve more than 50,000 Big Macs and 100,000 servings of fries. And that won’t be the only McDonald’s around… they’ll have three other locations in athlete villages. 

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