An interview with EC's new Chef

An interview with EC's new Chef

EC is proud to announce the hiring of it’s new chef, Aaron Vinten of The Athletes Table. After working as a professional chef at high-end Michelin restaurants, Aaron started The Athletes table and hasn’t looked back. As an avid triathlete and runner himself and also a local soCal resident, Aaron fits right into the mold of the EC staff.

Last week we were able catch up with Aaron and give our upcoming Big Bear campers an idea of what to expect from our new chef!

EC: Aaron, our team is excited to have you and The Athletes Table on board for future camps. I imagine the campers will be saying the same thing once they taste your food!

AT:  Thanks, James! I am really excited to join the team at EC and contribute to creating a great camping experience for the athletes.  I have several recipes planned into the camps menu from some of the world’s fastest triathletes.  Should be tasty!

EC: Not only are you a chef, but you are also a triathlete. Can you tell us what got you into the sport and what you are up to these days?

AT:  My wife and I timed our Hawaiian wedding with the Honolulu Marathon (that’s what everyone does right?). It was an amazing experience.  It’s also where I met my current triathlon coach Scott Smith. He was the first person I had ever met who had actually done a full IRONMAN triathlon.  I hadn’t even really ridden a bike at that point. Three months later he had me ready to roll at the starting line for Oceanside 70.3.

Right now life is about finding a balance between family, food, training and allowing some time to just sit on the couch and veg out.  I have IRONMAN Hawaii 70.3 coming up with some local olympic distance races to follow later in the season.  It would be great to add in SuperFrog 70.3 or IRONMAN Arizona.

EC: What kind of meals can campers expect from you?

AT:  Campers can expect food that is flavorful, satisfying and meets the nutritional demands of a high-performance athlete.  The best part is that its not rocket science.  Mother nature provides athletes everything the need.  It’s all about simple whole food nutrition.  Foods you can look at and recognize.

I am about halfway through planning the menu for the camp, but right now we have some cool summer inspired recipes planned like Watermelon Gazpacho, Goucho Skirt Steak and what would a summer camp be without a “Big Bear Cookout!”

EC: Endurance athletes are always concerned about what they eat before a race. What is your favorite, go-to pre-race meal?

AT:  I personally love oats. The night before a race I will take a cup of oat based granola, almond milk and berries or fruit and put it into a bowl and just let is sit in the fridge overnight.  Essentially making overnight oats. Sometimes I will add in  some peanut butter for additional calories.  It’s an easily digestible, high energy breakfast at 5am in the morning before heading off to the race. Keep it simple. NO COOKING required!

 EC: The campers embark on a long run or hike up a mountain. They get to the top and need something to refuel. What is your ideal thing they pull out of their camelbacks to eat?

AT:  Does pot roast count? Haha, jk.

This scenario has spurned a multi-million dollar “sports bar” industry from the likes of Cliff Bar, ProBar, Picky bar, Powerbar, Bonk Breaker and the list goes on!  While some are better than others (I’m a Picky Bar fan), there is nothing wrong with these products. They all have thier proper time and place and this is proper time and place!

The great thing is that you can make them yourself at home and I will show them how!

EC: So picture our campers enjoying a nice long bike ride through the mountains, riding at altitude and taking in the pine tree smells all around them. They come back hungry and ready to eat! What is your go-to post workout meal?

AT:  Unless it’s a day when I have been out on the bike all day, I’m not usually ravenously hungry after workouts, but I do find that I like to physically chew something rather than drink a recovery smoothie.  Many times it’s actually the same bowl of oats as my pre-race breakfast, but just a bit smaller.  It’s cold, hydrating and provides adequate carbs, proteins and calories to start the recovery process before having a real meal.

Now a couple hours later is a different story! Now I’m ready to eat a regular meal. I like something that feels comforting.  Remember that pot roast I mentioned earlier?  Yea, I nice piece of braised beef, with some roasted vegetables and a fresh salad. Really easy to make and real home cooked food!

EC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Can’t wait until our Big Bear Camp so we can all enjoy your delicious food!

AT: I am really looking forward to it!

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