South African chefs cater to players' every whim

Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:16am EDT
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By Helen Popper

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Chef Geoffrey Murray can barely whip baguettes out of his oven fast enough since the French World Cup team set up camp at his hotel.

Croissants, crepes and batches of brioche are also in hot demand at the chic Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa in coastal Knysna as staff pull out all the stops to cater for their pampered thoroughbreds.

"We were doing 10 baguettes and then it got up to 80 or 90 and now it seems to be up to about 120 per day," said Murray, head chef at the luxury hotel the French are calling home.

"The baker is just over the moon."

The Uruguayans packed a tonne of prime grass-fed beef from home, as well as plenty of dulce de leche -- a creamy, caramel spread ubiquitous to breakfast tables and deserts in much of South America, said team spokesman Matias Faral.

Argentina's coach Diego Maradona was not so lucky.

Agriculture officials put a stop to his team's plans to bring in steak supplies from home, said Linda Tyrrell, chef at the University of Pretoria center where the Argentines are staying.

"They never got a permit to bring the beef in. They wanted to, but it was declined," she said, adding that the flamboyant Argentine coach had failed to live up to his diva reputation so far.   Continued...

<p>General view of one of the entrances of the Pezula resort at Knysna, near Cape Town June 7, 2010. France's national soccer team is staying in the hotel. REUTERS/Charles Platiau</p>