DoubleTree Exec. Chef Charles Connell
Saturday's the big day for cycling fans. The Tour of California kicks off in Downtown Sacramento. And with more than 200 pro cyclists in town…all requiring massive amounts of food to power them up…how are they getting fed?
That job goes to Charles Connell – executive chef at the Doubletree Hotel…where the cyclists are staying.
Burly and wearing a tall, white chef’s hat, Connell is standing over a frying pan sautéing a colorful mixture of veggies.
“This is just basically some red onion, a little bit of broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash and a little bit of red bell pepper.”
It’s a typical dish that Connell is preparing for the cyclists during their stay here…along with lots and lots of other dishes.
“The average athlete eats 8,000 to 10,000 calories per day when they’re preparing for this cycling tour. A big guy like myself probably eats 2,500 calories a day so you can tell how much more that is.”
Connell’s used to cooking for basketball stars, football players and other athletes that stay at the hotel. He says the cyclists eat the same kinds of things…red meat, chicken, pasta and fruit…but they do it all day long.
“The cyclists seem to eat a little bit, then come back for a little bit and then come back for a little more. Whereas a football player just seems to, like a really big lineman or something, will just take it all down at one time.”
And although Connell says it’s a lot of work feeding all the athletes…it can also be pretty rewarding.
“It’s really exciting when you know you fed them and then you feel good that you took part in that, in helping them have the right nutrition to win.”
And when Connell’s not busy preparing meals for the cyclists, he says he’ll keep track of their progress over the course of the nine-day race.