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A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people

The sound of a bell rings around the walls inside the truck. Waiters move quickly among pristine white tables. Steaming trays of delicious food descend from the staircase. The hospitality bustles with life, and the sounds of hungry visitors. A procession of guests lean together at the buffet, snooping the dishes that are prepared with dedication, each and every day, by the chef of Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, Michele Quarenghi, along with his second on board, Mattia Bonfanti, and the kitchen assistant Fulvio Tomasoni. They begin to tuck in, small blackboard signs revealing in chalk the secrets hidden in each hot pot.

Every year, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR consumes about 1000 kilos of pasta, 3000 kilos of fruit and vegetables, around 2000 eggs, 1500 kilos of meat...

Work does not start in the kitchen, but every Tuesday before a Grand Prix. Religiously, the cooks and other members of the hospitality, Dario Decio, Marco Foppoli, and Edoardo Zenucchi, strive to clean up and prepare the kitchen and the living area. That same day all the food and ingredients that will be needed for the whole weekend are acquired. And the amounts are very generous. In fact, every year, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR consumes about 1000 kilos of pasta, 3000 kilos of fruit and vegetables, around 2000 eggs, 1500 kilos of meat... And after dessert, roughly 9000 cups of Italian coffee!

The kitchen of Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, skippered by ‘Mighelone’, feeds about 15,000 people per year; "about 700 at each Grand Prix, which means around 250 each day of the weekend divided into four turns". Around the tables of the blue hospitality unit, journalists, guests, members of the team, Suzuki representatives or simply family and friends of the riders gather together for a whole year. For everyone there is always a place where you can relax, recharge and refresh yourself, which is much needed during long working days of more than 12 hours, which stretch out from sun rise every morning.

A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people

At dawn, the cooks are locked in the truck and rock & roll rings out. In this sanctuary populated with food, inspiration comes accompanied by music. The food groups are well-organised but "pasta is never lacking," underlines Quarenghi, and this is perhaps the ingredient most valued by the guests. "But we always try to make new dishes and improvise, to avoid a standard menu.”, adds the chef from Bergamo who left the restaurant trade of his hometown to follow a MotoGP dream. However, there are some mandatory elements in his cooking style. Some dishes, like pasta 'alla amatricciana' or 'alla carbonara’, are forever imprinted on the menu sheet. There are also some inescapable ingredients; "The chicken, for example, and the 'guanciale' (a sort of bacon made of pork cheeks), which is used for carbonara and amatricciana. And the mascarpone, which is used for the Birramisú and the Tiramisú... I must have these things, otherwise I have many problems…" explains the chef, laughing.

A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people

A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people

A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people
A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people
A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people
A ‘food truck’ for 15,000 people

And when are the menus designed for each Grand Prix? "Normally the previous week, but I also improvise”. This depends on the raw materials available. Mighelone makes a request to the different suppliers of the team and then, depending on the country, aims to create a local dish. For the chef one of his star dishes is "whatever I like to eat!”. Like pork with ginger or tacos, and Mattia's Birramisú - a cooked tiramisu based on beer that is the dessert which every SUZUKI ECSTAR team member goes mad for.

The riders, on the other hand, have their own personalised menus. If diet is important outside the circuits, when athletes are immersed in a Grand Prix these food plans are even more crucial. “They are the easiest diners to feed," says Mighelone. "Because they eat white rice, chicken breast, white pasta, grilled meat or grilled vegetables."

And which country is the most demanding to feed? "Well, I don’t know if they are especially demanding, but the ones that eat the most are in Germany, England, and the United States,” the cook comments, laughing. And the least? “Japan. The Japanese like to try everything, but they are the ones with the least quantity,” he says concisely.

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