#fiatyamahateam Interview Michele Quarenghi
File under Racing Interviews
Author: Mike Werner
Location: Le Mans, France
On any large budget motorcycle racing team, there are always one of two people who are popular and loved. The Fiat Yamaha team is no exception, and in their 70-odd people team, the most respected people are, apart from Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, the folks that look after the team's well being.
And with the people who are the most liked in the support staff, at the very top of the list, is the Chef, or in others words, the head cook. The "M"an, the one who prepares all the wonderful meals the team gets to eat.
The Fiat Yamaha team hospitality area is open from the early morning until late at night, and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and in between, there's always food and drinks available.
Orchestrating the massive amount of work (out of a truck converted into a kitchen), is the Head Chef (or head cook) Italian Michele Quarenghi.
So continuing our look at the support staff for the Fiat Yamaha team , here's an interview with Michele.
NOTE: As a recipient of of Michele's wonderful meals, I can attest that his skills are second to none, worthy of any champion.
Q. "First important question, are you a Chef or a Cook?"
A. "I'm a Chef, but I don't really like it when the call me Chef. I don't know why. I prefer that they call me by my name."
Q. "How many are you in the kitchen?".
A. "We're three guys. Me, and two other guys. One is a sous-chef, but he's a chef. You can't do everything alone, it's impossible."
Q."Do you prepare the menus in advance for the season or for each trip?"
A. "Usually, I go shopping in the beginning [of a trip], the I start to buy things at the race. The menus are not the same, because when we are in France, we can find some products here, when in Spain, I prefer to buy fish., so I'm very flexible with the menu. Maybe we prepare some things, some plate we usually make, and then see day-by-day. Like we prepare the menu during the travel when we come here, like we have 14 hours on the road, so we talk with each other what we can do. But in the end, we change all the menu. because we have more asparagus or tomatoes, or we prefer to do like this, or like that."
Q. "So do you buy stuff locally, or do you bring stuff?"
A. "We bring stuff from Italy, we buy many things in Italy. Then, like on Wednesday we go to the shop and we buy the local products, like vegetables. "
Q. "Over a whole race season, how many meals do you make?"
A. "Maybe more than 10,000. From 10,000 to 15,000 meals. Like this week in Le Mans, it is not so busy, but anyway, you prepare like 800 meals. Next week in Mugello, for sure 1000 meals for sure. Spain and Italy races are the busiest. "
Q. "Do you talk with the other chefs in the hospitality area?"
A. "Yes. We know each other, we come mostly from the same city and organization, so we can help each other, when somebody needs something, we trade things. But for example Suzuki and Repsol are out of our organization, and I don't really know the other chefs. Usually we are in the kitchen for 16 hours., maybe 18. So no time to make friends.".
Q. "So what time do you start in the morning?"
A. "7 o'clock and then finish at midnight. It's hard, but it's just for four days. Then you have 5 days to stay at home."
Q."The question we ask everybody, do you ride a motorcycle?"
A. "NO! I wish, but it's better not. I don't have the right head to ride a bike, because for me if I had a bike I just want to go fast. I remember when I was really young and I had a 50cc scooter I imagined me as Kevin Schwantz. But I stopped at 50cc."
Q. "But you are a fan of the sport?"
A."Yes, for a long time. I enjoy the noise ".
Q." How long have you been doing this?"
A. "This is my third season. First year was with Kawasaki, then 2 years with Yamaha."