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Saturday kitchen: Jonny Marsh uncovers the secrets behind meals footballers love

Saturday kitchen: Jonny Marsh uncovers the secrets behind meals footballers love


The new season has finally arrived – and we are hungry to deliver the best insight from in and around the beautiful game throughout the year.

And that’s why we’ve brought a new team chef on board: Jonny Marsh.

Michelin Star trained Jonny feeds a host of top footballers – and he has even cooked for royalty.

In the Premier League, he whips up meals for the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gündogan – and he even laid on the dining for Paul Pogba’s birthday party.

So, over the course of the season, Jonny will provide us with his fascinating first-hand insight into the quick, healthy, easy and enjoyable meals he magics up for players on a daily basis.

And, he’ll even throw some of his mouth-watering recipes into the mix – so you can impress your mates in the kitchen by following his delicious culinary tips.

In his first column, proud Northerner Jonny introduces himself to Mirror Football readers – and provides an unmissable lowdown into the meals his all-star clients can’t get enough of.

Bon appetite. Enjoy…

Chef to the stars Jonny Marsh joins Mirror Football to reveal what dishes keep his footballer clients fuelled

Hello, my name is Jonny!

What a journey this has been so far: starting out with nothing to grafting my way to something I’ve only dreamt of.

I’ll set the scene: I’m currently on a flight to Orlando to visit Claire, my girlfriend, who plays for Orlando Pride.

And I’m scratching my head on how to begin this column. SoI guess I’ll start with the basics…

The most common question that people ask me (and I mean everybody asks me this) is: “What is your favourite thing to cook?”

Which is normally followed (immediately before I’ve even been able to answer) by: “What is the players favourite thing to eat?”

Well, I’m going to put it to bed once and for all and finally reveal what my favourite things to cook are. Oh, and I suppose I’ll give you a little insight into what a professional footballer at the top of their game eats too.

Before we do that though, let’s crack on with the important topic… me!

I have worked in Michelin restaurants, private yachts, billionaires private homes and cooked for royalty (excuse the tasteless showing off, I won’t be able to get off this plane as my head will have swelled).

But give me my Mum’s homemade chilli and rice any day of the week and I’m a happy boy!

Saturday kitchen: Jonny Marsh uncovers the secrets behind meals footballers love
Good food made easy: Here is Jonny’s chicken sweet paprika hot dog with a smokey chipotle mayonnaise and guacamole

Saturday kitchen: Jonny Marsh uncovers the secrets behind meals footballers love
And this one is delicious too… Jonny’s peanut butter and soy glazed chicken, with and Asian slaw and coconut sticky Japanese rice

The thing is, I love simple food, done well: no complications, no bells and whistles, no lobster smoked in hay, with a samphire foam, squid ink dehydrated onion rocks with pickled salad and split buttercream dressing (I know I’ve just made that dish up for dramatic effect, but there might be something in that… I’ll come back to that at a later date. Stay tuned to my Insta to see it)!

I love homemade pies, fish and chips, black pudding… you name it! I am a Northern boy through and through (actually, I do also love making sushi, that’s a stress reliever for me).

Now that’s over and done with, let’s get to grips with why you’re really here – you want to know what the footballers eat.

Well, with how I cook food and using my imagination, I am able to take the likes of fish & chips, mac and cheese, sweet and sour chicken, chicken jalfrezi and make them healthy.

Seriously, I’m not talking bull, it’s actually good for you. And in these columns I’m going to show you how using my different ways of cooking, tips, how to package and present food, will actually change your life.

It sounds dramatic but trust me. It may even reignite that Sunday League dream in you.

The players love simple food. Kevin De Bruyne’s favourite dish is the “Kevin Carbonara” – which is something I made up and will blow your mind (and the best part, it’s not bad for you at all).

Saturday kitchen: Jonny Marsh uncovers the secrets behind meals footballers love
Kevin De Bruyne’s favourite dish is the “Kevin Carbonara”

Or he likes a Belgian dish called ‘Stoofvlees’, which is a braised beef dish served with mash and veg, really, really nice.

Ilkay, on the other hand, will literally eat anything… anything except coriander. In fact, the word coriander is banned when I’m working in his kitchen!

If I’m ever unsure on anything, I just add more garlic for him.

I’ve never met anyone who eats garlic like Ilkay does. I’ve sat and watched him eat a full bulb of garlic and then turn to me and say: “I didn’t even really taste the garlic”.

But he makes my job easy, as long as I work hard and give everything I’ve got.

I’m really lucky with my boys that they’re not fussy at all. They’re very receptive to new ideas, flavour and techniques that I want to try out.

I genuinely love my job because I have a free license to be as creative as I possibly can.

If someone tells me they love burger and chips, I’ll go away and make that burger and chips as healthy as possible. There are different ways of cooking and using surprising ingredients to enable this.

Perhaps I’m making this sound all so easy. But believe me the attention to detail that goes into something that looks so simple is huge. Making sure I’m using natural anti-inflammatory and recovery agents from food on specific days enables players to recover quicker, making sure that players with certain deficiencies are able to eat normal food without having to ram certain foods down them. I make sure that snacks, desserts and breakfasts, fuel, recover and aid them in their days.

There is a lot that goes into every meal, regardless of how simple it looks.

I have a meal prep business which follows the same philosophy.

We deliver nationally to players as far Bournemouth with meals and food cooked to exact specifications for each player.

What is the players most requested meal? As I said earlier, I get asked this a lot!

The answer? Well, it’s the carbonara… that is what I give my boys for their pre-game meal, the night before a match.

Whether they take it away or eat it at home, they’ll eat and go out and smash it the next day.

This is the prime example of something looking so simple but the attention to detail is through the roof.

I use food that I know will naturally enhance exercise performance and fuel the players.

I make sure I give them every chance of them being able to give their all, every week.

I’ve held this recipe very close to my chest since starting out as it’s something you have never seen before… one week I’m going to do a full spread on it – you’ll definitely thank me later!

I think I’ve waffled on enough now and you probably just want to crack on with your day, maybe even cook one of my dishes? How about give my sushi rolls a go? They are the perfect grab and go snack with my special dipping sauce, which takes it to a new level.

I’ll make you a deal: you read all this and I’ll give you that carbonara recipe next week.

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I’m going to show you time saving, weight losing, carb loading tips that not only fill, excite and delight you, but taste amazing!

I’ve got recipes that don’t even use a knife, so let’s get them kids cooking their hero’s favourite foods and starting to imbed a healthy lifestyle and drive to achieve from the get go.

Hope you enjoyed – you can leave me a comment below and you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram .

Thanks for reading!



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