Chef reveals tennis stars’ food secrets at the Australian Open – and the dish Serena Williams loved

The celebrity chef reveals the eating secrets of the tennis superstars at the Australian Open – and the dish she cooked for Venus Williams that stopped the icon’s heart.

  • Helen Goh created the menu for the players’ restaurant in the late 1990s
  • She’s remembered the main courses for some of the biggest names in sport
  • Bananas are very popular with stars; A player had packets of powdered food

Celebrity chef Helen Goh has delved into the tennis stars’ dishes after working at the restaurant that served players at the Australian Open – and detailed how she created a dish that made a huge impression on Venus Williams.

Goh – who has worked closely with culinary guru Yotam Ottolenghi – had complete freedom to create menus for the players’ local eatery while working at the Grand Slam in the late 1990s.

The creations she devised alongside chef Peter Littlejohn proved a hit with the stars, even though they ate far less than the coaches, medical staff and family members who had also traveled Down Under.

Some of the big names’ tastes have stuck with Goh, who fondly recalled what they prefer to use to fuel their Grand Slam campaigns.

One of Helen Goh's dishes made a huge impression on Venus Williams (pictured at the Australian Open 2021) - but the chef is still not sure why she said the meal stopped my heart.

One of Helen Goh’s dishes made a huge impression on Venus Williams (pictured at the Australian Open 2021) – but the chef is still not sure why she said the meal stopped my heart.

Goh had complete freedom to compose the menu players chose from in the late 1990s - but one star preferred to bring packets of powdered food

Goh had complete freedom to compose the menu players chose from in the late 1990s – but one star preferred to bring packets of powdered food

“Martina Hingis, I seem to remember eating sushi and mangoes, Anna Kournikova turkey sandwiches,” she wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that Australian tennis legend Pat Rafter – like many other players – was a big fan of bananas, while Mary Pierce prefers grilled fish with lemon.

Goh recalls “a tall American” – who she believes may have been Jeff Tarango – who “came in with packets of powdered food, which we found with half a bottle of Evian water, a bottle of apple juice, a banana, a… , should mix one-third of a cup of fruit salad and a cup of crushed ice”.

She reserves a special mention for two of the biggest stars the sport has ever seen.

Anna Kournikova was a fan of turkey sandwiches, while French star Mary Pierce preferred a simple meal of grilled fish with lemon

Anna Kournikova was a fan of turkey sandwiches, while French star Mary Pierce preferred a simple meal of grilled fish with lemon

Swiss star Martina Hingis (pictured at the 2016 Australian Open) was a fan of sushi and mangoes when Goh hosted her

Swiss star Martina Hingis (pictured at the 2016 Australian Open) was a fan of sushi and mangoes when Goh hosted her

“Only the Williams sisters – just beginning their world-famous careers – stick out in my memory as regulars in the lounge, where they took a liking to my fries.

“I remember Venus Williams remarking, ‘Your curry made my heart stop.’

“I still don’t know if that was good because later that day she passed out and never came back.”

At least one of the stars competing for the title at this year’s Open shares some of the same tastes as the champions Goh served.

Nick Kyrgios was candid about his food preferences at last year’s Aussie Grand Slam, saying his favorite meal before a game like Hingis’ is sushi – and he’s a fan of bananas when he needs a quick burst of energy.

Novak Djokovic is notoriously fastidious about his ultra-strict diet when he competes. He cuts out gluten and dairy to focus on vegetables, white meats and oils — and almost always eats the same breakfast: two tablespoons of honey with granola containing pumpkin or sunflower seeds, almonds and cranberries.

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-11636191/Chef-reveals-tennis-stars-food-secrets-Australian-Open-dish-Serena-Williams-loved.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Chef reveals tennis stars’ food secrets at the Australian Open – and the dish Serena Williams loved

Maureen Mackey

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