As Norwich City Under-18s and Under-23s made their staggered return to the Lotus Training Centre in recent weeks, so too have their professional and personal development programmes.
With many players of the Academy returning to house parents or apartments of their own, it’s vital in lifestyle, sport science, fitness and nutrition for the players to be able have an understanding of how to prepare their own meals.
To help in their understanding of how to cook these healthy meals, every player from both the U18s and U23s attended a virtual class with Head Chef of Delia’s Restaurant and Bar Nigel Ramsbottom, following along with a lesson in cooking as they prepared their own meal.
The classes are now a weekly occurrence for the Academy, each week learning a new meal. The most recent class was marinated chicken brochettes with green couscous, which you can find the recipe for on Delia’s website here.
Asked about the classes and the benefits cooking can bring, Ramsbottom says that it’s the best way to teach the players how to keep themselves healthy, as well as maintain physical and mental wellbeing.
“It’s a great thing for the players to learn because a lot of them are with house parents or going into apartments of their own.
“Clive [Cook, Head of Player Care] and Jay [Eastoe-Smith, Head of Academy Sports Science] came to me and wanted to teach these lads to generally be able to cook and put good food in their bodies when they’re older professionals.
“We don’t want them going down to the nearest takeaway or going to a supermarket and picking out ready meals.
“It’s great to have a hobby, it doesn’t matter if its cooking or something else, it’s all about physical and mental wellbeing and having another string to your bow. In this case, we just want the boys to be able to eat correctly.
“These classes teach the boys to get fresh ingredients. They learn that cooking is a discipline and it’s habit-forming for them as well.”
Speaking on his experience of teaching the players, whether it be in person or over a video call, Ramsbottom says he loves passing on his wisdom to the players.
“Teaching is the most important thing, I’m at the latter end of my career and I’ve got all this knowledge, I’ve been working at the club for six years. I’ve got a very young team in Delia’s kitchen, so I love passing on knowledge.
“Whether it’s an upcoming footballer, or an apprentice chef, if anybody wants to learn how to cook, I’m the man to teach them. I love teaching, I’ve always been one for passing on information. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, so why keep it to myself when I’ve got it?"