Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville today admitted that they can cook a little more than a bacon sandwich and a bolognese between them as they launched their new football- themed restaurant. But the Manchester United stars said they knew about fine dining because they had visited the world’s best hotels and restaurants during their playing careers.
Their new dining room Cafe Football, which opens at Westfield Stratford next month, features dishses inspired by “authentic football culture.” These include Nev’s Noodle Pot (gourmet instant noodles), Pistachio Turf (sponge and chocolate in the form of a football pitch) and a posh marzipan half-time orange.
Neville, 38, who retired as a player in 2011, said: “I make a good bacon and sausage sandwich, but that’s not tough is it. When I lived in Manchester with my wife Emma, I cooked all the time. I wouldn’t say it was cooking in the homemade sense – it was more warming things up.”
Giggs, who is now player-coach with United and turns 40 at the end of the month, admitted: “Stacey, my wife, cooks. I rarely cook. But the one I love to make is spaghetti bolognese. Ask any footballer if they can cook and they’ll say ‘yeah I can do a bolognese’,” he said. He added that the restaurant was the next step as their playing careers draw to a close saying, “We knew that we had to prepare for another life away from football.”
The pair have brough in Michelin-starred Michael Wignall and executive chef Brendan Fyldes to design the menu and do the actual cooking. Nevill added: “You are so regimented when you’re a football player, you eat certain foods at certain times. That’s something I’m happy to be out of.”
“I learnt from Sir Alex for such a long time the bedrock of his success is hard work,” Giggs said.