Chang­ing tastes in footy food

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING - MATTHEW SALMONS

It’s not of­ten an old-school rugby head sits down to a salad-laden meal at the rugby club, but Rolle­ston Rugby Foot­ball Club (RRFC) is a bit dif­fer­ent.

You won’t find pies and greasy chips here. It’s slow braised beef, fresh sal­ads, gourmet sand­wiches and hand-cut chips all the way.

RRFC has en­tered into a part­ner­ship with food-truck ven­dors Herba Gourmet to pro­vide food to play­ers, spec­ta­tors and the gen­eral pub­lic each Satur­day.

Club pres­i­dent Paul Frewen said the part­ner­ship was part of the club’s wider push to forge its own cul­ture and iden­tity.

‘‘We wanted to be dif­fer­ent be­cause we’re a young club. We don’t have all the old-boys telling us how it was in their day,’’ he said.

The club started in 1978, but folded soon af­ter, amal­ga­mat­ing with Springston be­fore break­ing away again in 2001 to re­form as a stand-alone club.

‘‘It’s been slowly grow­ing as Rolle­ston grows.’’

Frewen said the club’s mis­sion was to pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment where all play­ers were val­ued and able to reach their po­ten­tial. Their fam­ily ori­ented fo­cus and en­cour­ag­ing out­look aimed to ‘‘grow great cit­i­zens for Rolle­ston’’.

As part of that, Frewen said chang­ing the food cul­ture at the club was key to grow­ing healthy bodies and minds.

While the prices were not as cheap as the clas­sic pies and chips of be­fore, Frewen said the food now was of a much higher stan­dard.

‘‘We’re not sell­ing crappy food. It’s good qual­ity, nu­tri­tious food that you’re get­ting.’’

Frewen said the food had ‘‘blown away’’ vis­it­ing teams.

‘‘We get old rugby heads ... sit­ting in here and eat­ing some­thing with a salad on the plate and say­ing ‘mate, that is awe­some’.’’

While the part­ner­ship was still on a trial ba­sis, Frewen said feed­back from both the club and the com­mu­nity had been pos­i­tive.

Herba Gourmet founder Kerry Hast­ings said the part­ner­ship grew af­ter Hast­ings and her part­ner met RRFC de­vel­op­ment coach and for­mer Cru­sader Ged Robin­son at a wed­ding.

Hast­ings said they spoke of the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the vi­sions of Herba and RRFC, and Robin­son later sug­gested the cur­rent part­ner­ship.

‘‘We were like ‘oh my God, this is per­fect’,’’ Hast­ings said.

‘‘The club re­ally sup­port us and I love their con­cept.’’

Hast­ings said her food was her ‘‘ab­so­lute pas­sion’’ and put her ‘‘heart and soul’’ into pro­vid­ing fresh, hand-made and bal­anced op­tions along­side the ‘‘naughty stuff’’.

‘‘My favourite food is chips, but I wouldn’t eat it all day, ev­ery day. I be­lieve in of­fer­ing peo­ple bal­anced op­tions.’’

Food from Herba Gourmet was also avail­able to take­away from the RRFC.

MATTHEW SALMONS/STUFF

Rolle­ston Rugby Club pres­i­dent Paul Frewen says his club is ex­cited to be of­fer­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent to the play­ers.

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