While the Sydney Roosters' pre-season camp in Brunswick Heads featured plenty of on-field training and preparation for season 2021, it was the culinary advice from a world-renowned chef that caught the attention of the playing group.
Esteemed Australian celebrity chef Matt Moran was on hand at the Club's pre-season camp to help educate the playing group in positive sourcing, cooking and eating practices.
Speaking to Roosters TV, Moran elaborated on the importance of sourcing food and encouraged the playing group to be proactive in their experience at Mullumbimby markets.
Lunch with the Roosters!
"There's no question that farmers markets are the best place to shop and Mullumbimby Markets is one of the best in the country," Moran told Roosters TV.
"We got the boys to talk to the people in the shop stalls - the guys who grow, nurture and breed the product to get that beautiful romance of where food comes from."
Roosters captain Jake Friend - an avid fan of cooking - spoke of both the nutritional and practical benefits of the experience for all members of the squad, not only in terms of cooking and preparation but healthy eating as well.
"Matt (Moran) came up with his head chef Laura and it was awesome to chat to them. I'm a bit of a home cook - I love it," Friend explained.
"We sort of went through some produce and picked up some meats, different veggies and cheese and they ran us through it.
"We had another lady called Lala who cooked a lot of whole foods for us during the week as well. The week was based around both footy and food.
"What you put in your body is what you're going to get out of it. There were some great learnings especially for some of the younger boys who don't cook as much to learn a bit of the prep stuff and sourcing good produce at local markets.
"On the flip side with Lala, she does some stuff with the psychology of eating. By being in a relaxed state and not rushing when eating, you're actually getting more from the food you put into your body.
"It was a pretty cool experience - he's (Moran) a pretty renowned chef and it was great to see how he does it."
Front rower Linsday Collins echoed the sentiments of his skipper, emphasising the importance of nutrition in the diet of an NRL first-grader.
"I actually grew up camping there when I was a kid. I've got a bit of family around Ocean Shores and I haven't been there in a while. It's an awesome community and awesome environment," he said.
"Diet and nutrition is a pretty important part of our job.
"It's like the analogy of putting fuel in a car - you're not going to put bad fuel in a car, you want it to keep going.
"Food is your fuel. It's about being mindful of what you're going to put into your body and how it's going to best suit you for training and games."
The playing squad then returned to home base to prepare and create meals for themselves, with Moran highlighting some of the impressive work of the playing group with the tongs in hand.
"The boys I have to say did exceptionally well. Victor Radley was a bit of a standout at the markets," Moran explained.
"He went out and got some lamb and he barbequed it himself. Luke Keary was also a standout on the barbeque as well and wants to know everything there is to barbequing.
"We got some steaks, some chicken and some beautiful salads as well as some Yamba king prawns, which I think are the best king prawns in the world.
"Some of the young kids were really into it. Lachy Lam made a great chimichurri but I think they've all had a great time.
"And I tell you what - they can bloody eat a lot of food!"