Connor Wickham has left no stone unturned as he continues his road to recovery from a knee injury that has kept him out of action for sixteen months. That includes the striker employing a chef, Jonny Marsh, to prepare nutritionally rich meals.
In an exclusive video from Palace TV, Wickham – who made his competitive comeback for the Under 23s last week - revealed that he found Jonny on Instagram from a John Terry post featuring a meal prepared by the Michelin star trained chef. Terry is one of many footballers who rave about the young chef. Marsh’s first client was Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne, and word quickly spread amongst the City camp – as Jonny added Ilkay Gundogan and Kyle Walker to his illustrious client list, one that now includes two Palace players - Scott Dann and Wickham.
In the video below, Marsh speaks of his uniquely scientific approach to food – how it’s prepared and packaged, how it’s cooked, how it’s presented. Even how it’s heated. He said: “I used my knowledge of ‘clean cooking’ from the training I had working in Michelin star restaurants, but I use my own my take on things to try and improve things – and it’s just worked.”
To prosper as a Premier League footballer, nutrition is hugely important. It’s even more crucial for injured players, as players need to eat healthily to assist with muscle repair and growth, but also maintain a stable weight.
Reflecting on his spell on the sidelines, Wickham said: “I was just getting into my stride when I did my knee – it felt like my knee was about to dislocate. I had to accept it. [I was expecting] nine months to a year, but it’s been longer. It’s not been ideal. Patience is the hardest bit.”
Whilst every player has their own tastes, Marsh says there is one thing that all players agree on. “They all love simple things. When I first started – I took the approach of not trying to over complicate things. These guys love simple food, cooked well.”
Wickham’s taste buds are still tingling after a Marsh creation from last week - a chicken tikka pie, with root vegetable mash and blanched vegetables. The chef said: “He even took time to message me the next day, and said ‘Mate, obscene!’, so I was more than happy with that reaction.”
Click play on the video below to watch Jonny and his sous-chef prepare a meal fit for a footballer - Chicken breast with Connor’s ‘cracking’ pine-nut pesto, beetroot couscous, and a colourful array of blanched vegetables. And if you’re trying it at home, remember “colour equals flavour”!
If you want even more from Jonny, head to Palace TV on the club’s official app (search "Crystal Palace" on the App Store or Google Play Store) to watch another creation – a healthy, footballer friendly jerk chicken.