Aylsham chef returns after cooking for Olympic chiefs at Winter Olympics in Sochi

Chef Blaise Vasseur back in Aylsham from the winter Olympics. Photo: Bill Smith

Chef Blaise Vasseur back in Aylsham from the winter Olympics. Photo: Bill Smith

A chef who has cooked for rock stars and royalty has returned from one of his toughest culinary challenges - providing fine dining at the Winter Olympics.

File photo dated 18/02/2014 of Great Britain's Jack Whelbourne. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date:

File photo dated 18/02/2014 of Great Britain's Jack Whelbourne. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday February 23, 2014. Jack Whelbourne had an eventful time in Russia, crashing out of the 1500m final when a block got stuck under his skates and consequently picking up an ankle injury which made him doubtful for the 1000m. See PA story OLYMPICS Sochi Short Track. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Blaise Vasseur, 42, from Dyes Loke, Aylsham, who 'fell into cooking' at the age of 18 was head chef for a team of six which fed Olympic and broadcasting chiefs at Sochi in Russia.

During his intense seven-week stint, he served up a la carte dishes to the Prince of Denmark, Monaco and Jordan.

Mr Vasseur said: 'It was challenging. You feel right up against it but when you get the job done it is rewarding. The Winter Olympics had a brilliant atmosphere and there was brilliant camaraderie.'

Mr Vasseur, who works for international touring company Eat to the Beat, cooked for 95 people every lunchtime and between 80-90 every evening at the restaurant.


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Diners included the 'top brass' of broadcasting companies and high ranking members of the Winter Olympics organisation team.

The restaurant was in the Adlersky district of Sochi where the curling, ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating were held.

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'We took everything, including the kitchen sink,' Mr Vasseur added.

Two container loads of equipment were brought across, through strict security, and food had to be ordered from Moscow which took four days to arrive.

Mr Vasseur, who grew up in Saxthorpe, said: 'I specialise in cooking in obscure places.'

And despite the attraction of the sport, he only managed to watch part of an ice hockey match between Russia and Slovakia because he was too tired from the intense work.

Mr Vasseur, who studied design and production engineering at City College Norwich, first stepped into a professional kitchen at the now closed Pizza One Pancakes Too on Tombland to pay his way through college.

After moving to London aged 18 he got a job as a commis chef at the Soho bistro Andrew Edmunds.

Over the next few years he worked in a variety of London restaurants, where he learned all his skills.

He joined Eat to the Beat seven years ago and has cooked for Take That and Cirque Du Soleil tours, as well as performers and crew from music festivals including Latitude.

Last year he cooked a shepherd's pie for the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury and was personally complimented by rocker Mick Jagger.

He would love to cook for Paul Weller and Axl Rose from rock band Guns N' Roses.

'Our type of work is quite different to normal restaurant work. The chefs are good at adapting and using whatever food we have to make good dishes,' he added.

During his time with Eat to the Beat he has travelled across the world and the most obscure place he has cooked was Shenzhen, China, in 2011 for the World Student Games. He also cooked for the 2012 London Olympics.

Mr Vasseur said: 'Because you are not in the same place everyday that makes it exciting. I had enough of going to the same restaurant. I enjoy the challenge of going to different places.

'When I worked at Pizza One Pancakes Too I never imagined I would work at the Winter Olympics. I didn't think I would work as a chef, I fell into it.

'I love cooking. I like the fact that I you get an immediate reaction from food. It is also an industry which is constantly changing.'

He enjoys working with local ingredients and wants to set up a pop-up restaurant in Norfolk.

'I'm really inspired by Norfolk food. There are a lot of interesting, good quality products in Norfolk. People are doing really good stuff with them,' he added.

His favourite foods include Cromer crab and samphire.

Do you know of a local food hero in Norfolk? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk.

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