Duncan Goodhew - Olympic gold-medallist swimmer
What do you have for breakfast?
My favourite indulgence is cooked breakfast. It’s the best meal, with a swim behind you and the rest of the day in front of you. I have porridge cooked with skimmed milk and served with crushed walnuts and a dusting of demerara sugar followed by kippers – lightly grilled, served with a mustard butter and lemon. Or else smoked haddock with poached eggs.
At one time all I did was swim, eat and sleep. When I was at university in America I’d have the full breakfast — eggs then pancakes. I’d have two long sessions in the pool every day and a session in the gym. I’d be swimming anywhere from 10 to 20 kilometres a day. Then I needed fuel and I ate enormous meals. I’d finish with a late supper - a 22-inch pizza and a beer before bedtime.
Has your attitude changed?
If you want to get your best performance in anything you have to fuel yourself and you have to exercise. I’m no monk; I love food. But as you get older you have to make adjustments. For me, that means moving away from sugars towards more complex carbohydrates, so fewer desserts and more porridge.
What sort of food did you grow up with?
My family owned and ran hotels as well as nightclubs and restaurants. It was all silver service when I was growing up in the 1970s. The perfect menu featured prawn cocktail with melba toast, steak and chips and Black Forest gateau.
Where would you go for a celebration meal?
Koffmann’s at the Berkeley Hotel. My brother trained with Michel Roux at the Waterside and then fronted La Tante Claire for Pierre Koffmann.
Pierre has the most exquisite twist on a spaghetti bolognese — instead of spaghetti he cuts squid to look like spaghetti and his bolognese is like no other. He is the master! His signature pig’s trotter is absolutely superb. Another dish is curried mussels with mashed potato and I’ve yet to wheedle out of him the secret ingredient. There’s something in there that gives you little explosions of flavour. I just can’t work out what they are.
What have you cut out of your diet?
I love cheese, but I limit how much I eat since it’s very high in fat. Yes, I exercise but I would like to live to 100 and still be able to do up my own shoelaces. To have any chance of doing that, I have to make better decisions. One of my favourite dishes is Sussex pond pudding. It’s a whole lemon cooked in a suet pudding so it marmalades and then the pudding is thumped on the top to make a little pond that is filled with cream. You cannot imagine the combination of flavours. Just thinking about it furs up my heart. I haven’t had it for years.
What would you choose for your final meal?
I’d start with mussels and Beluga caviar. It’s a major extravagance, but if this is my last meal, I’ll allow myself. I’d move on to beef wellington, with the finest, aged beef. I love Sunday lunch but beef wellington takes Sunday lunch on to the next level. All this nostalgia makes me think I’d have a proper sherry trifle for dessert. I’m also very partial to the classic violet and rose creams.