The Pink Lion on the Green with Masterchef champ Phil Vickery
Celebrity Masterchef winner and rugby legend Phil Vickery put a few “shrimps on the barbie” this weekend in celebration of the British and Irish Lions 125th anniversary tour to Australia next month.
The event was held at the White Horse pub in Parsons Green and hosted by Thomas Pink, official outfitter for the Lions squad. The rugby-star-turned-chef cooked up a tantalising menu of rib-eye beef burgers, succulent chicken breast and chunky chips for the growing crowd. There was even a nod to the team’s overseas competitors with a kangaroo burger – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Quality produce, especially quality meat, is something very close to the Lions veteran’s heart, having grown up on a farm in his home county of Devon: “When I was a little kid, when you’d eat a cow that was yours, it tasted different. Like pulling your potatoes out the ground, seeing those spuds. The importance of the food chain and where things come from, I think it makes a big difference.”
Since winning Celebrity Masterchef in 2011, Vickery has got involved with everything from charity cook-offs to becoming a patron of the Prince’s Countryside Fund. He’s not stopping there: “I would love to open a restaurant or a brasserie back in Gloucestershire. I’d like to involve people, communities and try and showcase some great produce. Dave and Doreen with their honey down the road, western cider, they’ve all got a place.” Even a stint on Strictly might be on the cards for the Raging Bull who admitted he would “genuinely love to dance”.
The well-known pub was renamed the Pink Lion for the day in honour of the event and made for a great venue. Huge pink umbrellas covered the outdoor area while inside, dark leather upholstery and walls covered in vintage ale posters created the perfect setting in which to relax with a pint of premium beer.
Fun was had by all ages, 11-14-year-olds could play touch rugby with A Question of Sport’s Matt Dawson, while adults could taste local wine and cider and a Thomas Pink pop-up shop stocked covetable shirts, suits and socks from their exclusive Lions Collection. A Q&A session with five members of the elite squad (including newly appointed captain Sam Warburton) gave fans the opportunity to pick their brains, before a final screening of the Heineken Cup Final.
Beer, burgers and ball games: did somebody say summer?
For further information and future events visit the British and Irish Lions’ website here.