Rugby clubs battle it out in a seafood cook-off with Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker


Lotus UK joined over 20 rugby players from Harlequins, Wasps, London Irish, London Welsh and England Women on Tuesday evening as they battled it out in an Alaskan seafood cook-off hosted by 2010 Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker and supported by the Rugby Players’ Association, the representative body and collective voice of professional rugby players in England.

Taking place at L’atelier des Chefs, London, players were tasked to cook three Alaskan seafood dishes instructed by Dhruv and judged by a panel headed up by Dhruv and including Maria Costa Lobo, representative of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and James Pike, venue manager at L’atelier des Chefs.

Highlighting the nutritional benefits of wild Alaskan seafood which is low in fat, high in protein and Omega 3, sustainable, 100% natural and rich in vitamins and minerals, dishes included Alaskan fishcakes, Alaskan salmon spring rolls and Alaskan pollock curry, demonstrating the versatility of cooking with fish.

Speaking about his career to date, his personal experiences in Alaska and the nutritional benefits of fish, Dhruv focused particularly on the benefits of Alaskan canned salmon. “While less decadent perhaps than fresh fillets, Alaskan canned salmon is an extremely healthy cupboard staple and perfect for a range of quick easy dishes”.

Competing in groups of five, players spent time perfecting their dishes and showing off their culinary skills in the cook-off, with Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt from England Women, Tito Tebaldi, Marland Yarde and Ben Botica from Harlequins and Andrew Fenby from London Irish winning the top spot from the esteemed judging panel.

London Irish full-back and RPA Player Representative, Andrew Fenby, says, “It’s not every day that 20 rugby players battle it out in a kitchen but Dhruv made it easy for us to make tasty dishes that are healthy and rich in protein. Nutrition plays a key part in any player’s preparation and training. We often revert to staple protein choices such as chicken but today has been an eye opener. The Alaskan fish are fit fish, a natural choice for professional sports men and women!”

Caroline Guthrie, RPA Player Development Manager for Saracens, London Welsh and England Sevens, said: “One of the main focuses of the RPA is player welfare and wellbeing. This event was great fun but also very informative, highlighting healthy seafood choices, suitable for elite players. We really appreciate the insight from Dhruv, his experience winning Masterchef and now a restaurant owner was extremely valuable. Thanks to Alaskan seafood and John West who all helped pull this event together, it appears that the rivalry between clubs is as fierce in the kitchen as it is on the pitch!”


Images from left to right:

1. Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica, Copyright
2. Nuevas Esperanzas, Nicaragua 
3. Vidarte Space, Brazil