Meet the USMNT World Cup Chefs in Qatar


Doha, Qatar – It was a mid-September evening in southern Spain. A chair was pulled aside in the dining room where United States Men’s National Team was eating Everyone stopped to watch. A rite of passage was at hand.

The rule is clear: you must sing. Player, coach, staff — whatever the position, every incoming member of the US Soccer program must do this. And so Giulio Caccamo, the always-smiling and energetic new executive chef for The Americans, climbed into the chair and set out to please the crowd.

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Cacamo, who grew up among the canals of Venice, said, “Everyone gave me the same advice, just get up there and sing an old Italian song that nobody understands and then you can sit down.” “I said, ‘Of course not!’ I’m not going to do that.”

They laughed. “So I sang Elvis.”

The players cheered and Cacamo smiled. They have an unlikely relationship. Caccamo was raised in Italy, and spent most of his professional career working internationally in restaurants ranging from the Middle East to South America.

Then, how did he end up cooking for America? As you might expect, the short answer is simple: They liked her food.

Caccamo was working at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Salvador for the last time when America played el salvador in World Cup qualifying. US Soccer does not typically have a full-time chef; They usually work with the chefs at any hotels while on the road to organize their meals. But in El Salvador, federation staffers, including coach Greg Berhalter, were impressed by Cacamo’s efficiency and attention to detail during preparations for his trip.

Then, more importantly, everyone liked what he made.

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There was a conversation. An agreement was reached. Caccamo began working on menus and connecting with team nutritionists over email, then joined the US for a September training camp ahead of the World Cup. It was here that Cacamo went through the singing rite of passage, and where he solidified his relationships with the players and staff. Berhalter, a noted foodie, had a very specific topic he wanted to discuss: What are the intricacies that go into making a proper and authentic one? amatriciana,

“As an Italian, I love those conversations,” Cacamo said with pride.

In Qatar, Kakamo’s workload is important. The week-long tournament requires precise planning for the 26 players and dozens of other support staff overseeing every meal, not to mention endless hours of actual cooking. Caccamo is also accommodating a variety of dietary needs and preferences. (Among other things, two American players are vegetarian, and there is one person in the group who has a pine nut allergy.)

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At all hours of the day and night, Caccamo and a team of 12 employees work out of a kitchen inside the Marsa Malaz Kempinski where America is staying, which is separate from the one used by the hotel’s restaurant. Caccamo makes occasional trips to local vegetable stands or fish markets to bring the freshest ingredients.

“She’s brilliant, honestly,” continued Tim Weah, who regularly has access to high-quality gastronomy because he has lived in France for the past five years. “He’s really thoughtful and creative,” Weah said, “and he changes things up so much that it’s never boring. It’s really big.”

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In terms of flavors, the mostly young American team fairly represented their generational norms: burritos, quesadillas and, really, anything one might be able to get at Chipotle, especially the staples before an important match. Huh. That’s not a problem for Caccamo, though he said that cooking for athletes — as opposed to well-heeled hotel guests — required a slight shift in philosophy.

In a restaurant, flavor is king: That said, you do whatever is necessary in terms of seasoning to make sure your customers enjoy your meal. With athletes, however, adding more butter (or oil or salt or sugar) to the recipe isn’t really an option when your clients are required to run 90 minutes in extreme heat and excruciating pressure. Still, Caccamo embraces that challenge and tries to use a variety of cuisines — “some days we’ll go to Japan, some days we’ll go to Mexico or Brazil” — to keep players’ palettes engaged.

Then there are special requests: sergino destination, for example, famously consume plain bread before a match (ideally a baguette), and Cacamo said that he has ensured a steady production of fresh loaves every morning, which is available to those who prefer it. Also includes gluten free bread. Caccamo has to work on a cake recipe too Yunus MusaHis birthday is 29th November and the team would like to celebrate 20 years of their midfielder.

It’s all exciting for Cacamo, who said the best part of working with the American team is the sense of unity he’s found within the group. his beloved Italy The team didn’t qualify for the World Cup — “Next question, please,” he said modestly when asked for his thoughts — so Cacamou is committed both emotionally and professionally to helping American players as much as possible.

“I’m working, but it feels like I’m in a family and that’s awesome,” he said. “I know I have a role to play, too. I want every day the players come into the room and say, ‘Let’s see what Chef has for us today!’ I want my food to help excite them about what they’re doing.”

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