Aquatics stars swap pool for kitchen with virtual cookalong

17 Sep 2020

A host of British Swimming athletes, coaches and support staff have come together to cook up a virtual storm and give themselves a taste of Japanese cuisine as the journey to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 continues. 

Around 80 individuals from across the aquatics disciplines were involved in the online event, which was hosted in partnership with Yutaka and ConnectwithJapan. 

Chef Atsuko Ikeda took the participants through the steps to making an authentic chicken katsu curry over Zoom, with Yutaka having supplied everyone with the ingredients necessary to create the delicious dish. 

Staying virtually connected has been an important part of the new routine for elite athletes and their teams over recent months - and Wednesday evening provided a great variation on those online sessions, with a twist of Japanese culture ahead of next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

British Para-Swimming Performance Nutritionist Stef Shreeve was involved in organising the event and hopes this will be the first of several such opportunities for Britain's elite swimmers, para-swimmers, divers, artistic swimmers and water polo players in the coming months.

Japanese cookalong image
Rhys Davies' setup

"We were really excited to have an authentic Japanese cooking session - and it's something we're keen to do a few of throughout the season, in the build-up to next summer's Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo," she said.

"It was also really exciting to bring together the disciplines for an activity like this, with athletes, coaches and support staff all involved."

Among the athletes to take part was marathon swimmer Toby Robinson.

"The night was great fun. It felt really special to be able to do an activity with a big group of fellow athletes from various disciplines, considering how isolating lockdown has felt over the past few months," said the National Centre Loughborough man.

"Atsuko, the chef, was very friendly and knowledgeable about Japanese cooking, and we ended up with a very tasty chicken katsu curry at the end." 

Another to enjoy the experience – including some culinary history – was Calum Jarvis, the two-time world champion Freestyle swimmer.

"I actually found it surprisingly easy to do as we went through it," he explained. “I learned a lot around where the dish originally came from - it was actually a Japanese take on a British curry. It was also great fun to see lots of people taking part and showing off their creations at the end!" 

Rachel McCrystal from ConnectwithJapan said: "ConnectwithJapan is delighted to be working with the British Swimming teams across a number of Japanese-themed engagement activities to enhance their cultural knowledge of Japan ahead of the Games in the country next year."

Try the recipe for yourself with all the details here!