Brian Boitano won Olympic Gold in Men's Figure Skating in 1988. Here, he offers some insight into what it's like to eat like an Olympian, both while training and at the games.
By time you read this diary, Brian Boitano will be already in Sochi, preparing for his role as part of the official U.S. presidential delegation for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Brian is hardly a stranger to the Olympic games. This will be the fourth time representing the United States ― the last three times he was a participant.
Brian has won over 50 titles including the U.S. Figure Skating Championships four times, the World Championships twice, before reaching an all time career high in 1988 when he won the gold medal for figure skating at Olympics in Calgary. In 1996, he was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame and in 2008 he was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame.
But, it’s not just skating which Brian is ardent about, he has had a keen interest in food from an early age. “Along with skating, I've added the business of food and cooking to my repertoire,” Brian says. Today, Brian can be counted as one of a handful of athletes who have managed to successfully combine two of their passions ― he is a chef, television cooking personality, cookbook author and still skates professionally!
Brian admits his diet has come a long way from his earlier days. “My diet is more well-rounded than when I was younger and definitely tastier. I would call it clean eating. It’s based on a Mediterranean diet with lots of fish and heavy on the greens... When I was younger, I ate a very restricted diet, mostly baked potatoes and salad, and all of it was a very bland preparation,” he said.
During the cold winter months, Brian likes to eat almost any kind of braised meat. “I really love that ‘fall off the bone’ tender goodness,” says Brian. “One of my favorite recipes from my cookbook is braised pork shoulder with pineapple juice. The shoulder is cut into individual portions, and each one is tied up with string. After braising them you just pop them under the broiler with a topping of brown sugar, cumin, coriander, and Paprika. Sometimes I serve the pork on a bed of mashed parsnips and celery root.
Brian reveals that he (or his friends, rather) also particularly enjoy his homemade macaroni cheese. “My friends say I make the very best mac and cheese. It has a crunchy garlic breadcrumb topping. I have to double the topping recipe because they eat it by the spoonfuls before I can even get it on top of the cheesy mac!
Another favorite of mine is pasta which I call ‘Coq au Vin-guine.’ It is a twist on Coq au Vin. I love preparing versatile sides too; like creamless creamed corn or cauliflower and apple puree. These dishes work with everything, and they are super easy to make in advance, says Brian. All of these dishes can be found in his book “What Would Brian Boitano Make?”
His exercise routine is extremely rigorous as he still maintaining his skating career. “Four days a week I am on the ice for an hour and forty five minutes and the other days I'm at the gym doing a mix of cardio, core, strength training and stretching,” he explains.
Is there anything Brian is particularly looking forward to trying out in Sochi? “ I understand Sochi has its own regional specialties so I’m looking forward to seeing how it differs from the rest of Russia,” explains Brian. One thing you can be sure he won’t be tasting is Borscht―“The only thing I don’t eat now are beets. I think that’s because I went on a weird pickled beet diet when I was young. It didn’t last too long. The only thing that lasted was my distaste for beets!”
Will Brian score a perfect 10 from Elyse Sosin, RD, for his food log? Let’s find out...