Food keeps drivers and crew revved up at Edmonton Indy
Published Sunday, July 22, 2012 5:21PM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 22, 2012 6:28PM MDT
Fuel for the cars is obviously critical at the Edmonton Indy but fuel for drivers and their crew members is also important.
CTV News got a behind-the-scenes look at the man who helps keep the Andretti team prepared for the big race.
Erwin Brecher is a one-man show. It’s his job to feed the entire Andretti race team.
On an average race weekend, he’ll make enough food to fuel 200 people.
He’s been on the road for 22 years and has worked for three generations of the Andretti family.
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of hours. The environment sometimes makes it difficult. It’s not as glamorous as you guys think,” Brecher said with a laugh.
“You get to travel a lot but after 20 years, it gets old too.”
Brecher says the menu requests he gets from crew members isn't too difficult.
“It’s pretty straight forward and they’re very appreciative,” Brecher said.
“He does a good job with his filets and his barbequed ribs,” said John Henderson, a member of Andretti’s crew.
Brecher never knows what the menu will hold until he arrives in a host race city but tries to keep things simple.
“They’re pretty simple, steak, potatoes, fish, kind of guys, it’s not very difficult at all,” Brecher said.
He plans the meals around what fresh food is available locally.
“Certain areas they’re known for specialties so whatever is fresh and looks good,” Brecher explained.
Sunday’s menu featured pork tenderloin, risotto, walleye and chicken tortellini and cheesecake for dessert.
Brecher may be modest but rumour has it Andretti has the best fed crew on the circuit.
“This is the first year I’ve been with Andretti and yeah, their food is a lot better than everywhere else I’ve been,” said truck driver Josh Blackburn, who says Brecher’s steak is his favourite dish.
Brecher creates his healthy menu items using only a grill, two ovens and a tiny kitchen.
He spends at least 12 hours in the kitchen each day of the race and says it can get extremely hot, but he has a secret to chef survival.
“Scotch,” Brecher said laughing.
He adds the kitchen’s air conditioning helps as well but if that area gets too hot?
“We’ll sit in the freezer,” Brecher said with a grin.
Most of the food Brecher puts out is buffet-style.
Drivers’ race day meals usually consist of items that won’t upset the stomach including pasta with a plain red sauce or boiled chicken.
The team also donates any leftovers to local shelters.
With files from Amanda Anderson