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Katie Melua


>> Ryan Giggs is a national treasure and arguably one of the UK's most successful professional footballers - yet, perhaps surprisingly, he has never played in a World Cup.

In a profession where the average retirement age is 35, he's still going strong at the grand old age of 40 and has been enjoying his first managerial role as the interim manager of his beloved Man Utd.


"Our head chef Andrew may do one or two English Classics on our specials board on the nights England play or if they do well."


When he's not on the pitch, Ryan likes to relax with a spot of cooking - as well as dining at his restaurant, George's in Manchester. He says: "I do enjoy cooking when I get the chance and I can do all the basic dishes. I am quite a dab hand at various pasta dishes as I eat pasta quite a lot as a pre-match meal the night before games.

"But I am quite spoilt because I get to have my breakfast and,more often than not, my lunch at the training ground. If I don't have my lunch at the training ground I'll often have it at George's on my way home. I do enjoy eating out a lot and I regularly have my dinner at George's too so all in all I actually don't get to cook a great deal!"

Owning a restaurant has always been a dream of Ryan's. "I've been lucky enough to eat at some great places in this country and abroad with my job and it is always something I have considered doing," he continues. "I got involved in the hospitality industry a few years ago with (fellow Man Utd footballer) Gary Neville and then when the opportunity came along for me and my two friends, Kelvin Gregory and Bernie Taylor, to take on the restaurant in our own village we jumped at the chance.

"We have named the restaurant George's after Sir George Gilbert Scott who was a famous Victorian architect responsible for some of the country's finest buildings such as the St Pancras Station and Hotel in London and he designed our village church."

The design of the restaurant and bar, which opened in December, is contemporary classic with a modern British menu and also serves brunch and Afternoon Tea.


"We have named the restaurant George's after Sir George Gilbert Scott who was a famous Victorian architect... who designed our village church."


George's won't be screening World Cup matches but there is a TV in the Private Dining Room where the chefs will be watching the late night kick-offs after they have finished their service. Adds Ryan: "Our head chef Andrew may do one or two English Classics on our specials board on the nights England play or if they do well."

Ryan himself isn't sure where he'll be watching the games. "June is pretty much the only time we get to go on holiday. I may be doing some TV work on the World Cup but if not I will be definitely keeping an eye on the games.

"I predict that the winners will come from the usual suspects such as Spain, Holland, Germany, Argentina and Brazil but with it being a South AmericanWorld Cup and the climate being a big factor the South American teams will have the advantage and with Brazil being the hosts they have to be the favourites. That said, Belgium could be a dark horse with the squad they have, many of whom are in the Premier League, but I would like to see England do well as I have a few teammates who will be involved."

For a man who has won pretty much every footballing trophy going, does Ryan feel a bit sad that he's never played in a World Cup? He admits: "It would have been wonderful to have played in a World Cup but it was not to be and I cannot really complain as I have had a wonderful career and been lucky enough to win many things and play in other big competitions. I was also fortunate enough to play in the London Olympics for Great Britain in 2012 and that was a great experience and had the feel of tournament football."

Poached Cod, Wild Mushrooms & Chickpeas

>> Serves 4

"I love fish and as soon as Andrew Parker, our head chef at George's (who previously worked under Michael Wignall who has the 2 Michelin starred Latymer in Surrey), put this on the Autumn/Winter menu I tried it and fell in love with it. It's a light, healthy dish too and I like the way it's wrapped in cabbage and the chickpeas and the mustard sauce go perfectly with the cod. It's a classy, tasty dish which I'll be having all year round!"

    Ingredients

  • 4 x 6oz cod fillets
  • 200g chick peas
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Grain mustard
  • cream sauce
  • 200g wild mushrooms
  • 4 savoy cabbage leaves
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil

    Method

  1. Blanch the cabbage leaves in salted boiling water until tender.

  2. Refresh the cabbage in iced water and wrap it around the cod fillet.

  3. Sauté the wild mushrooms with thyme and garlic.

  4. Blitz the chickpeas with garlic and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

  5. Place the wrapped cod in a vac-pac bag and poach in a water bath at 56 degrees for 18 minutes.
  6. For the Sauce:

  7. Sweat the sliced shallots. Add white wine and reduce.

  8. Add the cream and pass off the shallots through a sieve. Add mustard and season to taste. To arrange the dish place the pureed chickpeas on the base of the plate. Place the cod fillet on the top. Garnish with the mushrooms and finish with the grain mustard sauce.

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