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Bananas and goat curry for Brum to give Bolt a flying start.

Byline: Don Hale

THE Jamaican Olympic team will be powered by yam and curried goat flown over to their Birmingham base - along with a native chef to cook their meals.

Nearly 3,000 bananas, 30 goat heads and 20 pig tails will be making the near 5,000 mile trip from the Caribbean island to the second city.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics a furore erupted in the Jamaican camp as some of stars were unhappy with the local cuisine - and were spotted eating at McDonalds.

London 2012 will be different with chef Karl Thomas travelling with athletes including sprinter Usain Bolt to prepare a 2,500-calorie-per-day menu consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And all menu items for the team are totally Jamaican - down to the thyme, ginger and Scotch bonnet pepper.

Thomas has over 13 years' experience as a professional chef, and has worked at a number of top local hotels.

He said: "Jamaican food is naturally nutritious and high in protein and its what our athletes have asked for.

"All the food is being flown over in bulk from Jamaica and will be prepared at the University of Birmingham where the team will be staying until it moves to the Olympic village in London, where they will then have to eat food provided by the International Olympic Association."

The athletes will break camp close to the start of competition on July 27 and move into the athletes' village, where they will remain until the conclusion of the Games on August 12.

The University of Birmingham officially secured the deal to house the Jamaicans in February last year. The team will use the university track and weight rooms, as well as the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr.

The USA track and field team will also use the facilities ahead of London 2012, with both deals believed to be worth around pounds 15 million combined.

University of Birmingham's Director of Sport, Zena Wooldridge said: ''As a large university with global reach, the University of Birmingham's catering team is familiar with catering for a wide range of nationalities, including Jamaican.

''However, to ensure we get the athletes' food absolutely right, it's ideal to have Jamaican chef Karl Thomas joining the catering team for the period of the camp.

''We appreciate how crucial it is to ensure the best athletes in the world have the right quality fuel during their final preparation period. At previous major events Jamaican athletes have struggled to get their preferred food.

''This will definitely not happen at Birmingham, where we aim to make them feel very much at home, including their favourite food.'' JAMAICAN FOOD ORDER AND MENU QUANTITY (POUNDS) FRUIT & VEG: Yellow yam 242 Banana (green) 728 Banana (ripe) 2,856 ChoCho 16 Mangoes 750 Pumpkin 119 Potato (sweet) 164 Potato (Irish) 228 Pineapples 783 Cabbage 62 Broccoli 90 Thyme 17 Tomato 178 Ackee 120 MEATS: Goat heads 30 Oxtail 60 Mutton 80 Pig tails 20 Pork chops 40 Saltfish 90 Beef 155 Chicken whole 180 Chicken breast 324 Liver 75 WHAT'S ON THE MENU: BREAKFASTS INCLUDE: Grace Corn Meal Porridge Banana Porridge Roma Cocoa Fresh fruit platter Juices (aloe, blends, chillin) LUNCH INCLUDES: Grace Pumpkin Beef Soup Red Peas Salad bar (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, corn) Sweet pasta salad MAIN MEALS INCLUDE: Grace Ackee and salt fish Steamed Callaloo Brown stew chicken with Grace Green Peas Stew Peas with Pigs Tail fresh beef Jerk Barbecue Chicken DESSERTS INCLUDE: Grace Corn Meal Pudding Blueberry Cheese Cake Fresh fruit platter (assorted) Sweet Potato Pudding Chocolate Cake

CAPTION(S):

Jamaican camp: Alexander Stadium and the University of Birmingham. Gold Rush: The Jamaican Olympic team, including sprinter Usain Bolt, will be powered by a totally Jamaican menu.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 4, 2012
Words:619
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