British Columbia

Savoury stories: We ask 4 Canadian athletes about their most memorable meals

This Thanksgiving, many families and friends will join together to enjoy meals and make memories. Here are five stories of Canadian athletes and their most memorable meals.

It's about more than just the food

Hockey player Adam Foote's most memorable meal happened at a steakhouse in 1998 ... with Wayne Gretzky! (Sarah Crowder/Associated Press & Elsa/Getty Images)

This Thanksgiving, many families and friends will join together to enjoy meals and make memories. 

CBC Radio One's Kelowna afternoon program, Radio West, has been getting to know some notable Canadians a little better through its ongoing series, Memorable Meals.

Here are four stories of Canadian athletes and their most unforgettable meals.

Ross Rebagliati 

Ross Rebagliati, born in Vancouver, was the world's first Olympic gold medalist in men's snowboarding in 1998. His most memorable meal happened at a ski resort near Grenoble, France in the year 1995 while he was visiting for the World Cup. 

Rebagliati went to a creperie for dinner, which reminded him of a Sunday crepe tradition his family had back home in Canada. 

"We did it a special way," Rebagliati told Radio West host Sarah Penton. 

"You put butter all over the whole thing, put a nice little bit of brown sugar right down the middle of it, then dribble lemon juice over that and melt the sugar. Then you quickly roll it up and then eat it. And it's unreal."

Ross Rebagliati won gold for men's snowboarding at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. (Mark Sandten/Bongarts/Getty Images/File)

But when he asked the creperie for his family's favourite crepe, they had never heard of it.  

The following year, Rebagliati returned to the French ski village for the World Cup. 

"I went back up there and the lady was so excited to see me again ... that's because they added my crepe to their menu. And they called it 'The Canadian'!"

Listen to the full Memorable Meal here:

Olympic snowboarding medalist Ross Rebagliati's most memorable meal happened at a ski resort near Grenoble, France in the year 1995 while he was visiting for the World Cup.  9:47

Catharine Pendrel

Catharine Pendrel, who is based in Kamloops, is a cross-country mountain biker and an Olympic bronze medalist. Her most memorable meal was in 2008 at the Beijing Summer Olympics.

"Athletes like routine, and when we're going into a big competition we typically like to eat the foods that we're used to eating before competition," said Pendrel. 

The only food she cares about to fuel her race is a good bowl of oatmeal. But the Olympics cafeteria was a let-down. 

"I open the container, look inside and my heart just dropped into my stomach. Because it wasn't just watery oatmeal ... it was water with a couple flakes of oatmeal. It was oat broth."

Catharine Pendrel, left, with coach Dan Proulx, centre, and road cyclist Alex Wrubleski, right in 2008 at the Beijing Summer Olympics. (Submitted by Catharine Pendrel)

Under normal circumstances, Pendrel would have had something else for breakfast. But this was her first Olympics, so her team's staff went off in search of proper oatmeal.

"One of the other coaches from track cycling came running into the meal hall waving three packages of oatmeal ... it was like this collective relief around the table."

Pendrel was touched. 

"It was just the feeling of how much everybody around me was working hard just to make that day special and perfect."

Listen to the full Memorable Meal here:

Olympic cross-country mountain biker Catharine Pendrel had an oatmeal emergency during the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics. 10:09

Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey Serwa, from Kelowna, is a freestyle skier. In 2018, she and her teammate and best friend Brittany Phelan headed to the Olympic cafeteria for a quick breakfast the morning of their competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Kelsey Serwa, left, and Brittany Phelan, right, won big at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. (Submitted by Kelsey Serwa)

Serwa had a bowl of rice, scrambled eggs, tomatoes and oatmeal. But the conversation the two athletes had was particularly special. 

"We were some of the only people in our sport that felt like we had two opportunities to win an Olympic medal that day—one being if I got on the podium, and the other being if just Brit got on the podium. It would have felt equally victorious for both of us."

That day Serwa won gold, and Phelan won silver. 

Listen to the full Memorable Meal here:

In 2018, freestyle skier Kelsey Serwa and her teammate and best friend Brittany Phelan headed to the Olympic cafeteria for a quick breakfast the morning of their competition in PyeongChang, South Korea. 7:49

Adam Foote

Hockey player and Kelowna Rockets head coach Adam Foote is a two-time Stanley Cup winner and an Olympic gold medalist. He's played 20 seasons in the NHL, mostly with the Colorado Avalanche. 

In 1998, Foote was playing on Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan with his childhood hero, Wayne Gretzky. 

One night Foote and his wife Jen were heading to dinner.

"We're walking out of the arena, when I hear, 'Hey Footer! What do you have going for dinner?' I turn back and it's Wayne Gretzky ... how do we turn that down?"

Not only did Foote get to go to a steakhouse with Gretzky and his wife Janet, but they were joined by professional figure skater Scott Hamilton, who was Jen's skating hero. 

"We walked away from that dinner and just going ... 'wow ... did we get lucky tonight.'" 

Listen to the full Memorable Meal here:

Imagine if you suddenly found yourself having a meal with Wayne Gretzky ... 8:36

With files from Radio West

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