Food In Focus - Jude Bolton Of The Sydney Swans Talks Cooking

Q: Jude, your season really seems to have kicked into gear since that standout performance against Power. How are you feeling?

A: We had a slightly longer pre-season than last year, and although the focus has been there all along, nothing really clicked in the opening round. But I came back from the break feeling fitter than previous years. I didn't really go crazy this off-season, splurging and indulging as I often do by eating everything in sight. Normally I would have been at the head of the queue at Hurricanes for a meat feast, packing on the kilos, which of course I would then have to work off in the pre-season.

Jude Bolton
Q: Is this a newfound maturity, or did someone make a subtle suggestion that you rein yourself in?

A: Neither! I simply took the easy way out and removed myself from temptation! My girlfriend & I went off to Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, so the only splurging done was on fresh vegetables and fish. It was an incredible experience. I've got family over there so we would spend days touring the markets and selecting fresh ingredients. It's a real eye opener, as well slimming! We would cook these huge feasts from the local ingredients and the weight would not budge... perfect.

Q: You're tackling like a man possessed this season. Can you keep up that level of intensity on your fish and vegetable diet?

A: You lose about 2kg per game, even with all the fluid intake. So, after the game it's more about getting some carbs into the system - the fish takes a backseat to a serious plate of pasta. Normally it's lasagne with loads of sauce - Mum's recipe!

Q: Mum's recipe? So when it comes to cooking does Mum know best?

A: Without a shadow of a doubt! Mum's a great cook, and although I left home and Melbourne when I was 18, Mum is still sending me recipes and newspaper clippings of meals to try. She's a great cook - very experimental. She has travelled widely so she's always trying new dishes, especially Vietnamese. She sent me a recipe for osso bucco the other day, which I cooked, and it was awesome!

Q: Does she send you up food parcels as well?

A: No, it's not quite that extreme. I've got two older brothers, and although they are great sportsmen they've joined the golfing set, so Mum focuses more attention on my eating than on theirs, phoning me to tell me how my body is looking and what I should and shouldn't be eating. I end up having to remind her that she's my mother and not my coach!

Q: So in the Bolton Bondi household, is it all Mum's home-cooked meals?

A: No, I've managed to cut the apron strings a bit more than that. My girlfriend, Lynette, is going through a bit of a vegetarian stage at the moment so we get a weekly delivery of fresh veggies from Fratelli Fresh and do a lot with those along with steamed fish. The worst thing is that I just got myself a nice, new stainless steel BBQ that is unfortunately almost as clean as when I bought it. So I'm hoping her next phase is meat so I can do the BBQ some justice! I think she would probably be relieved to get me out of the kitchen anyway - I tend to get a bit ‘do it my way' when she's cooking, which probably drives her nuts!

Q: Being originally a Melbourne boy, do you miss the restaurants and dining experience that it offers?

A: I'm really happy in Bondi. We have our local favourites and Sydney has such a variety of restaurants it's almost impossible to complain or draw comparison. Hurricanes is a perennial favourite, so too are Le Paris-Go café for a laid back brekkie, and The Shop for the occasional glass of wine - a place that probably reminds me more of the laidback Melbourne bars than anywhere else... when the season permits of course. Better cover my back there!

Q: We had a chat in a previous issue with Ryan O'Keefe, who's a bit of a foodie. Is there anyone else in the Swans who springs to mind?

A: Well Woogy (Jarrod) does but for all the wrong reasons! I have to admit that he's got heaps better with age, but there was a time when he would knock up a pasta dish which he would describe as ‘pasta napoli'. It was his staple diet day in day out, and it was a shocker on every occasion! Should have been called ‘pasta barren'.

Q: In an incredible miscarriage of justice, you and Goodsey are indicted for match fixing in the finals and erroneously extradited to Rikers Island in the U.S.? Inexplicably put on death row, what would your final meal be?

A: Mum's lasagne!

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