If you have ever been to Cirque Du Soleil, you will have thought it too – what type of magical food fuels these super humans to do the things they do?
Vegan? Paleo? Miracle-inducing food (cue photo below)?
After being amazed at this year’s Kooza, with jaw dropping acts and world class talent, we were once again pondering the question – what do these performers really get up to at the dining table?
Well, let us wonder no more, because this year we snatched up the opportunity to chat to Shane Schipper, a proud Aussie amongst an international crew who has been running the show (cooking show, that is) as the kitchen manager for over 2 years.
As you know, with the tour of Kooza comes the ever travelling kitchen, which means new regions, new seasons so of course, it means different produce. Our sense (confirmed by Shane) is that the performers are somewhat forced into dedicating to local, seasonal product, so we think it’s fair to say they are ‘locavores’ and here’s why:
Let’s start with the numbers.
- 120 full time cast and crew (daily)
- 17 nationalities
- 2 menus per day
- 6 days a week
And the produce?
- 800 eggs
- 400kg of protein, meats and seafood
- 80kg fresh fruit
- 100kg of vegetables
When asked ‘What does a typical meal time look like in Cirque Du Soleil’, Shane replied: We create a weekly menu in advance that incorporates many different meal options to suit a range of preferences. We always have lots of protein options in both our two, daily menus (lunch and dinner) as well as lots of carbs!
KBS: How do you create the right menu for 120 odd members of the Cirque Du Soleil?
Shane: We mostly throw it around the team and the inspiration mostly comes from the chefs. We love to be adventurous and experiment with different cuisines and flavours. Our inspiration mostly comes from the ability to adventurous, because we move so much we constantly have new products to work with and adapt our styles accordingly. We really do just get to do what we want and play with that!
Are there trending health preferences that you cater for?
Shane: ALWAYS lot’s of fruit! Bananas, apples, watermelon.
Of course everyone has dietary requirements but we really do have lots of options for everyone to choose from. Usually we always have one clean option available, whether that’s lean protein (chicken or fish) and vegetables and we always have a fresh salad bar available. Everything is healthy but the performers mostly have the responsibility with making the healthy choices.
Do the performers have guidance regarding what they should be eating?
Shane: Definitely! They all have their own energy requirements and they eat very much according to this. They know what is best for them and what foods they should be eating. The performers and cast always maintain appropriate control with their diets and feed back to the kitchen so we are all on the same page.
We also have a ‘green’ ‘orange’ and ‘red’ system that we use to communicate as an in-house dietary guideline. For example, green is good (not deep fried, low fat and low sugar etc) and red is like hamburgers and chips and stuff.
What is the secret to a constantly moving kitchen?
Shane: We really have to be on top of our ordering, which can sometimes be really hard with language barriers. But we need to make sure we are getting enough produce on time in order to create the menus we love. Australia is of course super easy for me and I love knowing where to get everything from and the freshness of it all when it arrives.
How do you account for the various cultural differences amongst the crew when creating the menu?
Shane: we try our hardest to please everyone and we always have lot’s of options that may not be a particularly ‘cuisine’. But everyone seems to love some particular meals, like Mexican food- that’s a definite favourite!
Do the performers get dessert and have you ever tried to create a healthy dessert option?
Shane: One of the chefs actually have previously created a healthy dessert but usually we just have a normal kind of dessert with the option for fruit and yoghurt – everyone really loves fruit so a lot of performers choose that option!
And a little about Shane:
A country born Queenslander with his accent still proudly intact, even after years of working internationally throughout the world’s best restaurants. Having started his apprenticeship at the Powerhouse Boutique Hotel, right here in Brisbane, he has since been poached by Lanesborogh (London) and then Claridges by Savoy, right before cooking for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday lunch. Yes, he has a letter signed from Buckingham Palace (his greatest achievement to date). His passion is to celebrate the local produce in the regions Kooza travels and he is excited to return to Queensland to show the team all we have to offer, particularly our locally grown fruit, our meat and seafood but mostly the amazing colours and flavours so readily available!
KBS: Your signature dish?
Shane: we have so much variety in the kitchen all the time and I love cooking all types of food, but if I did narrow it down to one thing, I really love cooking BBQ Beer Can Chicken. Simple things are the best, and half the fun with this dish comes from drinking beer first! But this cooking technique, where you put the flavouring into the beer can and then over the chicken in the oven, it really creates a super moist chicken – just super delicious!
KBS: Favourite cuisine to cook?
Shane: I like all food but I really love cooking on a BBQ to create slow roasted meats, smoking and really using it in imaginative ways. The BBQ has really come a really long way and people are using it for all complex styles of cooking – I love it! We have two BBQs on tour which is really great, we use them a lot!
Kooza will continue to evoke much awe amongst Brisbane crowds from Nov 24 2016 – Jan 8 2017 and it’s certainly an opportunity not to miss.
If you haven’t yet grabbed your tickets, you can do so here: www.cirquedusoleil.com/australia/brisbane/buy-tickets
OR you can WIN two free tickets by 1) Commenting below why you want to go 2) Head over to @kbsugarfree on Instagram, like the photo and TAG a friend you want to take with you!
And for more pictures, videos and information head here: www.cirquedusoleil.com/kooza