The Secret to Team Dimension Data at the Giro D’Italia – Vigour Chef

Who is behind the energy that is fueling all the break a ways in the Giro D’Italia #Giro2016. Team Dimension Data has had a man in the break on almost every stage of this year’s  #Giro2016. It is safe to say behind every successful team there is a successful chef.

team dd

She has prepared the most exotic dishes for the worlds rich and famous on private mega yachts, she has cycled professionally in Europe and South Africa, she has travelled the world, spent time with the FBI, Ok! Ok! not the FBI but the FBI (the Food and Beverage Institute), from Miami to Boston to Lucca, Italy The Vigour Chef  has prepared the fuel for the success of TEAM Dimension Data .

We had the pleasure to catch up with her before leaving to join the Team in Europe.


Jeaun-Mari Breytenbach is the Vigour Chef, Chef to Team Dimension Data.

vigour chef braai

How did you get to be Chef for TDD?

I got into the industry actually as a junior road cyclist 5 -6 years ago. I rode professionally in Europe and SA with Cherise Taylor on Nashua telecoms and then 2011 on Team MTN Qhubeka.  I always had a big love for cooking and believed I could excel.  So I went to America and did a course in culinary arts at Cookology and started working.  I kept my social media up to date. I have a history with Team MTN Qhubeka so Dr. Carol  Austin Head of Performance and Medical asked me to be the Chef.  She organized for me to cook under Team Saxo Tinktoff Chef Hannah Grant for training the first tour or so.  

In the off season we will also host cooking classes for riders to educate and help them when they are not racing. 

Nutrition has become a key element to the success of a rider and is probably the next revolution in performance.


What will you be doing while on Tour with TDD?

My mission is to post about riders food, the dishes I prepare for them, replacing the calories burned during hard stages. Vigour Chef is responsible for meeting the riders nutritional and energy needs after a long days racing and keeping their energy and micro nutrient levels healthy for a 3 week stage race.

Most of my food and dishes are posted on my facebook page that I started a year ago.  I love preparing fish dishes, variety of vegetables flavoured with spices and fresh herbs.  I also cook variety of cuisines like kosher, Atkins, Purivian.  When I worked on the mega yachts overseas I was a sous chef with a French chef so desserts was my favourite during that time.  I also worked with a Mexican chef and their cuisine is also amazing and diverse.  

What is your favourite dish to whip up? salad

My favourite dish is any kind of fish like sea bass or Mahi-Mahi especially Asian style with healthy dressing like Tamari, lots of fresh lime juice spring onion and orange zest.   To compliment the fish grilled asparagus sautéed blanched tomato and pearly onion with flavoured basmati rice. Favourite desserts is Soufflé.

Jeaun-Mari best friend Charlotte describes her as driven, trustworthy, respectful and friendly joker, she is always fun to have around.

The Vigour Chef says Timing! Always thinking a step ahead or have a plan B are the keys to being successful.

choc soaked oats

What are deal killers for you?

Skills -work under pressure & being responsible sticking to what the rider like and listening to instructions. Organization in the kitchen, good organic fresh produce, menu plan

What do colleagues say is your best quality?

I heard from the exec chefs that I am fast, creative and neat. I just have a feel for what people would like and can improvise very well.

What are the essential items you will NOT leave home without?

A peeler  My specific brand of knives (Global) Blender for smoothies, purees, juices

Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My dad inspires me he taught and mentored me to work hard and he cooked for our whole family wholesome foods since I was a little kid I would always help. 

Something I never told anyone else.profile pic

I am a little ADHD in the kitchen. Not sure if people picked it up yet but I have a problem with cleanliness. 

Do you still cycle? If so, road or mountain bike?

I still cycle mostly road

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