Rio de Janeiro 2016 kicks off in less than three months, and everyone knows feeding Olympic athletes is one of the most exciting aspects of the Games. Athletes notoriously have massive appetites, consuming anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 calories a day while training and competing. In preparation, Rio has constructed a kitchen the size of a football field (American football, that is) and a dining room two times that, the Associated Press reports. The kitchen will prepare 60,000 meals each day for over 18,000 athletes, coaches, and staff.
The dining hall will house five all-you-can-eat buffets accommodating different tastes and diets: Brazilian, Asian, International, Pasta and Pizza, Halal and Kosher. Diners have a spectrum of international breakfast options, including congee, miso soup, and natto. The kitchen will even fly in kimchi from Korea. And of course, Brazilian cuisine will be prominent, with rice, black beans, farofa (toasted cassava flour), premium meats, and coconut water. Local fruits include açai, goiaba, caja, and carambola or starfruit. It sounds awesome.
Food safety is a crucial strategy for an operation of this size, and steroids in animal meat, meant to improve lean growth, can cause false positives in drug testing of athletes. "To assure that our ingredients are free of steroids and other kinds of chemicals, we are making sure our suppliers have all the certificates that are demanded by our national food and drug agency," says Marcello Corderio, Rio's director of food and beverages.
Nearly all the food will be sourced from Brazil. In addition, Rio says it's committed to sustainably sourcing food, and everything will be served on biodegradable plates.
Will the Rio Olympics be as LOL-sy as Sochi was two years ago? Plans always go awry with the Olympics, but Rio is already distinguishing itself from recent Games in key ways. Rio thankfully hasn't decided to build the next largest McDonald's in the world, or something equally horrible. And Sochi 2014 was "one of the driest Olympics in memory," but with Skol beer as one of Rio's major marketing partners, that won't be a concern.