By Barry Newcombe
Members of the England rugby union squad joined with the Rugby Writers’ Club for the Investec cooking challenge at Venturi’s Table in Wandsworth, South London, earlier this week.
Instead of stirring up controversies, the writers found themselves whisking egg whites. Rather than cooking up a storm, players Toby Flood and Harry Ellis (Leicester) and back row forward James Haskell (London Wasps) were cooking ravioli and profiteroles.
Venturi’s chefs oversaw the cookery by the amateurs, and when their work in supervising the players and writers was completed, the chefs took over to cook and serve dinner to the company.
The team looking after the ravioli starters was Chris Jones (Evening Standard), Neil Fissler(Sunday Express), Tim Glover (Independent), Nikki Drinkwater (RFU) and Flood.
The chicken and french beans main dishes were provided by Adam Hathaway (News of the World), Hugh Godwin (Independent on Sunday), Martin Bayfield (ITV), Haskell, Clare Challis (Investec), Neil Squires (Daily Express), all pictured below together (left to right) with chef Henrico. Ian Robertson, of the BBC, was also in the team.
Puddings were the task of Paul Morgan (Rugby World), Simon Ward (Talking Rugby), Barry Newcombe, Alex Lowe (PA Sports) and Ellis.
At the end of proceedings, the following awards were made:
Best course: Main course
Most valuable member of the Starter team: Tim Glover (awarded for his ability to chop mushrooms and drink wine simultaneously)
Most valuable member of the Main team: Clare Challis (awarded for her ability to manage big men in the kitchen)
Most valuable member of the Dessert team: Joint award to Alex Wilson (Investec) and Paul Morgan (a tongue in cheek award for their ability to completely ruin the dessert batter).