Ever since the Canadian Junior Hockey Team won gold at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Sweden two years ago, they haven’t wanted to change their luck.
That’s why they brought Jeff Hanna and his chef Andrew Gass with them during the recent world junior championships in Ottawa.
“What you eat is a very big deal,” said first-year player Tyler Myers. “It has a lot to do with your success on the ice.”
A gold medal for Canada has come out of all three years Hanna and Gass have served the team.
“If they have a winning recipe for anything they do, they are going to stick with it,” said Hanna, who owns The Metropolitan Grill, Tommy Burger and Seven Restolounge in Calgary.
“We’re three for three. We like to think that we did our part.”
The other reason why Hanna and Gass keep returning to serve the team is because of their flair for knowing the athletes’ food needs, which include grilled cheese sandwiches and plenty of pasta bolognaise.
“We served them mounds and mounds of pasta — it was unbelievable,” Hanna said. “The team needs lots of carbs to keep their energy up.”
Added Gass: “They just want something they can recognize. They have pretty regimented routines with stuff they’re used to eating before the game.”
It was this taste of Canada the team needed for the gold in Sweden.
“Hockey Canada phoned and said, ‘For the first time ever in hockey history, we’re going to bring our own chefs. With the dietary concerns in Sweden, the players aren’t going to survive out there,’” Hanna said.
As well as serving the team day-to-day, Hanna and Gass prepared special meals. This year they took over a restaurant in Ottawa on New Year’s Eve to cook for the team and their friends and family.
On the menu was a three-course dinner, starting with a lobster Caesar salad with a five-cheese garlic bread, then AAA Alberta beef tenderloin with a homemade Hollandaise sauce and fresh asparagus, complete with a light and dark chocolate mousse for dessert.
“It was awesome,” Hanna said of his experience. “We were treated like we were one of them. The Canadian camaraderie was incredible.”
Myers said he’s not a superstitious guy himself, but noted that many other players on the team have plenty of superstitions and having Hanna and Gass was a big one.
“Since that’s one of them, we might as well keep it,” Myers said.
Hearts of Romaine Lobster Caesar Salad
• Grilled lemon
• Hearts of romaine
• East-coast lobster
• Deep-fried capers
• Oven-baked fresh croutons
• 4 oz minced garlic
• 2 oz (60 ml) chopped drained caper berries
• 3 fluid oz (90 ml) seeded (grainy) mustard
• 1 fluid oz (30 ml) Worcestershire sauce
• 2 oz (60 ml) Greek feta cheese
• 2 oz (60 ml) egg yolks
• 2 l vegetable oil
• 4 fluid (120 ml) oz lemon juice
• 2 fluid oz (60 ml) good quality aged balsamic vinegar
• 2 fluid oz (60 ml) cold water
Whip Part A in a mixer or blender on high speed until it doubles in volume.
Add Part B in a slow stream.
Add Part C in a slow stream until fully incorporated.
Add Part B and mix well. Dress salad.