Holger Stromberg, the head chef of reigning world champions Germany, visited FIFA Museum on Saturday 10 September. The Michelin starred chef gave a key notes speech on his experiences with the national team and on the importance of nutrition and eating healthily, before the 40 guests present enjoyed a four course meal prepared by the World Cup-winning chef. The one-off culinary event was organised by the museum and Food Zurich. Stromberg has been in charge of the German national team’s food since 2007. You can browse through a selection of photographs from the event above. Or enjoy a short Q&A with Holger Stromberg below.
Mr. Stromberg, can you tell us how you became head chef for the German national team?
One day, sometime shortly after the 2006 World Cup, Oliver Bierhoff was a guest at a former restaurant of mine in Munich. We got talking, and discussed the quality of the ingredients and my approach to preparing food. Afterwards, I gave him my business card and told him that was free to contact me at any time. A few weeks later and he actually called to offer me the job with the national team.
What is it like working with the national team?
Every day is different. Whether we are working at a major tournament, a friendly game or at a training camp, there is always lots of preparation to do. Firstly, we have to make sure that we have the right utensils (knives, pots, juicers, a blender) and the right ingredients (different spices, cereals and various oils and vinegars) for cooking.
Secondly, after we arrive at the team hotel, I will set up a meeting with their senior staff. Then I can set up my kitchen and start looking for any required goods that need to be purchased. This is followed by meetings with staff at the hotel, setting up the dining room, then the actual cooking and before you know it the team bus is outside…
Can the players make special requests for their food?
As caregivers, we are naturally keen to provide the best possible things for the players. Although I cannot cook individually for 23 players, I always ask that the buffet is as versatile as possible and that different nutritional options are considered - as well as any culinary preferences. Requests and wishes mean a starting point for communication on nutrition and therefore they are very welcome.
Do players ever visit your kitchen?
All the players are very open and eager to learn and they give me a lot of feedback, which is great. And yes, every now and then a player will come into the kitchen. But what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen .
What did you serve on the eve of the World Cup final in 2014?
We served the players pumpkin, avocado, tomato, chicken, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, carrot and ginger soup, chicken broth, rice pudding and then mango. There was a few others but I can’t remember everything anymore - the day was an exciting one for all of us!