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Food + Cooking

Let the London Games Begin!

Published in Gourmet Live 07.25.12
We're gearing up for the 2012 Olympics with a roundup of famous chefs' favorite athletes, the first Olympians' ideas on sports nutrition, top international restaurants in London, and a recipe for the U.K.'s signature drink, Pimm's Cup
Let the London Games Begin!

Quit your grousing! That's what we said to our London-based friends who've been whining about the inconvenience of hosting the Summer Olympics in their city. Perhaps we should have offered a house swap instead, because we're so excited about the Games that we're devoting this entire issue of Gourmet Live to the athletes and the city of London itself—with a food angle on everything, of course.

We begin by asking gold medal–caliber chefs, including Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, Cat Cora, and Alex Guarnaschelli, "If you were an Olympic athlete, who would you be?" The chefs' idols range from U.S. women's soccer star Hope Solo to the top swimmers of all time, and the chefs' reflections on these champs offer an interesting glimpse at what makes them excel in their own kitchen sport.

These days, just as many athletes seem to be idolizing chefs: A quick flip through fitness magazines today confirms that in sports circles, viewing food as mere fuel is a thing of the past. For the long view on sports nutrition, we've got "10 Questions for Olympic Diet Expert Dr. Louis E. Grivetti," professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of California, Davis. A noted scholar on the diet of Olympians since the Games' origins in ancient Greece, Grivetti shares his insights on what foods fueled the Olympians of old, and how things have changed in modern times. As an aside, he even passed on to us some advice from the ancients that aspiring Olympians today might want to follow: Eat dried figs and moist cheese! We also learn, alas, that Epictetus, one of the original Stoics, discouraged Olympic hopefuls from having "a drink of wine whenever you want."

For a different sort of endurance event—and one in which you can have a drink of wine whenever you like—how about a London dining marathon? Travel correspondent Raphael Kadushin recommends top spots in the Olympic city for Indian, Chinese, Thai, Russian, and many other international cuisines.

Staying home to catch the Games on the telly? No worries: Armchair travelers can also enjoy a taste of England with our recipe for Pimm's Cup, that refreshing summery cocktail that is so quintessentially English.

And should the Olympic spirit inspire you to get in some activity—and friendly competition—yourself, consider joining a local Let's Move! Olympic Fun Day Meetup on July 28, the first day of competition in London.

While you're thinking and eating internationally, keep in mind Gourmet Italian, our recent cookbook loaded with favorite recipes of a favorite cuisine—along with mouthwatering photos, of course—from the Gourmet archives.

Which chefs and athletes inspire you? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook, drop us a line, or post a comment on our blog. For more tasty bites, sign up for our weekly newsletter to get convenient access to our most-read blog posts, editors' favorite recipes, and exclusive reader offers.

Go for the gold!

The editors of Gourmet Live