OAKLAND, Calif. – One is among the fastest on the track and the other among the fastest in the water, but who would prevail in the kitchen?
Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Simon Pagenaud and USA Swimming Olympian Dana Vollmer competed in a friendly matchup of culinary talents Monday as part of a promotion for the series’ upcoming GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, which takes place Sept. 16-18 at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California.
The two athletes paired up with Bay Area chefs Tanya Holland and Victor Scargle at the well-known Brown Sugar Kitchen. Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet, and Vollmer are both very conscious of what they cook at home and realize how important it is to feed their bodies the correct nutrition for their respective sports.
“I can really feel in training and at a meet what I put into my body,” said Vollmer, the 28-year-old, five-time Olympic gold medalist. “I try to eat really clean, I try to eat really healthy, maybe some ice cream from time to time, but all in moderation. Especially coming back from having my son, nutrition was really important to getting back into shape and supporting my son, feeding my son.”
Vollmer made a red quinoa salad with apples, figs, lemon, mint and thyme, as well as lamb tacos wrapped in hand-made corn tortillas.
Pagenaud created a beef wrapped with pork belly with French green beans and charred tomatoes. His grandmother made a similar recipe back in his home country of France, and noted that he may need to take a few tips and suggestions home to grandma.
“It reminded me of my hometown, it reminded me of my grandma and what she used to cook for us,” Pagenaud said. “So when I go back, I’ll have to tell her we’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe.”
Vollmer is just weeks returned from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she won gold, silver and bronze medals for the U.S. swim team. Pagenaud has four wins and six pole positions to his name in 2016 as he looks toward success this weekend at Watkins Glen International and two weeks later in Sonoma Raceway, hopefully clinching his first career Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
“I’ve got to go fast,” Pagenaud said simply. “I’ve got to do the same thing I’ve been doing all year. 2016 has been amazing. HP (sponsor Hewlett Packard Enterprise) has been an incredible partner of ours and they’re going to be on the car in Sonoma. A lot of partners are coming to the race, so I’m looking forward to that. All we have to do is focus on ourselves.”
Watch Pagenaud and Vollmer get busy in the Brown Sugar Kitchen here: