Chef David Burke’s Perfect Olympic Menu
When I think about designing a menu for the Olympics, there are two things that come to mind:
athletes and culture. The Olympics are a melting pot of both, with 205 countries competing in 26 sports this year in London, and I’ll be damned if not every single athlete there did not like my meal. To start, I’d want a menu high in protein and rich in carbs, to give the athletes the nutrition they need for success. The other thing I would do is create a menu that revolves around an “east meets west” theme, so that each dish hits on multiple cuisines and appeals to the many different cultures represented at the games.
Eggs scrambled with goat cheese and bacon; finished with scallions and soy sauce.
The eggs in this amuse serve three purposes; they’re high in protein so they’re fueling the athlete, and they’re also an international staple – everyone eats eggs. Finally, serving the eggs in an egg shell gives a nod to the French competing in the Olympics.
Steamed sea bass with tomato-miso vinaigrette and finished with lemongrass and ginger, served with a cucumber-mint salad.
This light dish is low in calories and gives a diverse taste of Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines.
Rack of Lamb
Charred rack of lamb with curry oil and chilled yogurt.
The lamb and yogurt give a nod to the Greek culture of the Olympics, and the curry highlights the South East Asian and Indian cultures. Surprisingly lamb is appealing to and is eaten by more cultures than beef.
Baked Alaska Parfait with Lemon and Jasmine Tea Merinque
A parfait glass layered with strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice creams, topped with a lemon and jasmine tea meringue and a flaming Jamaican rum float.
The different components of this dessert represent the five olympic rings in my mind. The parfait and the meringue pay homage to the French, the lemon and tea combination give a look to the English, and the jasmine represents the Chinese. Lastly, the Alaskan element gives a nod to the United States, and I like to think of the fast burning Jamaican rum as signifying one of my favorite Olympic athletes: Jamaican runner Usain Bolt. Better eat this fast if you want the gold, and for those of you who are feeling extra confident this year at the games, top it off with a little decorative gold leaf instead of a cherry. Torch it, raise it, and salute.
(Photos courtesy of Jerry Ruotola)