Athletes find food at Games Village `divine`

Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 12:20 PM IST

New Delhi: Hot chicken curry, butter chicken, vegetable biryani, gol gappas...Indian cuisine is giving a gastronomic high to foreign players and delegates at the Commonwealth Games Village. From "awesome" to "divine", the reactions have been superlative!

"I tried butter chicken and vegetable biryani for lunch and it was awesome. I am just loving the hot and spicy Indian curries served in the Games Village. I had heard a lot about Indian food in the past and it is the first time I got to eat it. It`s divine," Marilon Dozois Prevnt, Canadian weightlifter, told reporters.

The 24x7 dining area in the Village offers six different types of cuisine at each meal - athletes and officials can choose from American, Asian, African, Oceanian, Indian and Continental. The menu has 120 items that will be changed in a cycle of six days.

A workforce of 2,500, which includes 250 chefs, is working round the clock to make a variety of delicacies. The huge dinning area is expected to serve 36,000 meals to 7,000 players during the Oct 3-14 sporting event. It can serve 2,300 people at a time.

Catering at the Village is managed by US-based Delaware North.

Praising the food, Okaka Glorey C., a Nigerian team official, said: "I have been to many other international sporting events but we ever used to have so many options for food. There is always something on the menu to woo me."

"I really liked the India fast food section and tried some gol gappas and chaat and it was great. I am gonna try some other items in the coming days," said Brittany Teev, a tennis player from Cook Islands.

Ron Davies, the general team manager of the Wales team, said the dining area was excellent.

"The dining area is similar to (that in) the Melbourne Games. The food is excellent. We are enjoying our stay. The facilities are really of international standards," Davies told IANS.

The majority of players also looked satisfied with the quality and hygiene of the food served at the Games Village.

"We have food safety teams to check the quality and hygiene. The food samples are being sent to labs so that we can meet international standards," Rick Aylett, director, Delaware North, had said at the soft launch of the Games Village.

The main dining hall is providing a free meal service, 24 hours a day, to all accredited athletes and team officials.

The menu for each meal will provide a range of items from all six zones of the Commonwealth, which will be designed to meet the nutritional, cultural and religious requirements of athletes and team officials.

There is a special stall in the middle of the main dining hall to serve street food from India, such as gol gappas, papri chat and bhel puri, as well as other countries in the casual dining area. The village bar serves liquor and wine of choice.