Olympic Inspired Recipes


The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are in full swing and people all over the world like me are glued to our television set watching the festivities. There are 88 nations represented with 2,800 participants to compete in 98 events. People everywhere are eagerly watching the competitions and enjoying the festivities. Me too, one eye on the incredible athletes and the other on the food!


Working at the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France

In the past, I had the privilege of doing graphic work for three different Olympics (France, Norway & Spain). The work was interesting and fun, but what I really enjoyed was the food. Imagine, food served to accommodate and appeal to every culinary taste! For instance… I could have eaten sushi for breakfast, green curry for lunch, followed by meat and cabbage pie for dinner. And then there was the pig snout salad that we were served in France that was suspiciously too pink. Normally I live for eating strange things but that morning I had to pass, which was probably my loss.

It’d be an understatement to say that my Olympic experiences sparked an interest in international food and broadened my appeal for the many exotic flavors of the world.

Here are a few recipes which represent some of the countries that are participating in this years’ games. Enjoy these, and a few fun Olympic facts from around the world.


The first Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France in 1924.

Gateau au Chocolat (French Chocolate Cake)


In the 2008 Olympics, India won its first ever individual gold medal when
Abhinav Bindra won the 10m air rifle event.

Potato Samosas with Yogurt Mint Chutney


The first Olympics covered by U.S. television was the
1960 Summer Games in Rome by CBS.

Chicken Under a Brick


Japan hosted the Games in 1962, 1972 & 1978
with a fourth Olympics planned in Tokyo for 2020.

Gyoza Japanese Potstickers


Mexico is one of 18 countries that has only one athlete representing them in Sochi.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Mexican Shrimp Salad


Morocco has also participated in the Winter Olympic Games
on six occasions since 1968.

M’Hanncha Snake Pastry
M’Hanncha Snake Pastry


Spanish athletes have won a total of 133 medals,
with sailing as the top medal-producing sport.
Two of those medals were won at the Winter Games.

Mini tortillas with roasted peppers
Mini Spanish Potato Tortilla

South America

South America, along with Africa and Antarctica – have never hosted an Olympics.
Peru’s first participation in the Winter Olympic Games
occurred during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Quinoa Salad with Corn & Fresh Herbs
Quinoa Salad with Corn & Fresh Herbs


Stockholm 1912 saw the last gold medals made entirely from gold.
Current medals are gold-plated.

Toast Skagen – Swedish Shrimp Salad


Vanessa-Mae will ski in the 2014 Olympics for Thailand, she’s also a violinist.

Cathy Arkle | She Paused 4 Thought
Chiang Mai Chicken on Endive Spears


James B. Connolly (U. S.), winner of the hop, step, and jump
(the first final event in the 1896 Olympics),
was the first Olympic champion of the modern Olympic Games.

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Sauce
Chicken with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Sauce

she paused 4 thought line break

More Fun Facts about the Olympics:

  • The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek root “gymnos” meaning nude; the literal meaning of “gymnasium” is “school for naked exercise.” Athletes in the ancient Olympic Games would participate in the nude.
  • Motor boating was an official sport at the 1908 Olympics.
  • First place winners in the 1900 Paris Olympics received paintings instead of gold medals because they were considered to be more valuable.
  • The official slogan for the Sochi Games is “Hot. Cool. Yours.”

I hope you find these “hot” international recipes “cool” enough to be made by you and “yours”.
…and then, she paused for thought.


About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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26 Responses to Olympic Inspired Recipes

  1. tastingpage February 18, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    What a great Olympic overview and idea for a themed party. I love it!

  2. Cathy February 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Thanks. I love the idea of an Olympic themed party. “Eat around the world in 8 courses” Please invite me if you do it.

  3. Christina February 18, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    tasting page took the words right off of my keyboard (ha ha!) Brilliant post, Cathy! Such great recipes, too. I must say that I think my favorite is the Italian Chicken under a Brick…looks amazing!

    • Cathy February 18, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Thanks Christina! The Chicken under a Brick is super easy as well. Enjoy.

  4. Cousin Julie February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Cathy, All your photos and recipes here are so fun and inspiring! The kids and I made a five course Russian dinner last weekend to celebrate the Olympics – turned out so delicious but it was not in the “quick and easy” category for sure! The Pelmeni (meat & cabbage dumplings) and the Geesefeet (farmer’s cheese pastries) were our favorites. I’m voting that you post a Russian recipe for your next project!!! Please??? OR – you need to post one of the recipes from “the King Richard II Castle Cookbook” we made in our Canterbury Cathedral cooking class! Thank you again for treating me to that fun experience! Love you, Cousin Julie

    • Cathy February 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      Thanks Julie. I wish I could have tasted your Russian extravaganza! Time ran out for a Russian blog as I have so many photos, but I it is on the list of blogs to do. I will also do a post on our Canterbury Tales Cooking Class next month. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Lentil Breakdown February 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    I concur that this is a brilliant concept! This shows your versatility as a cook, traveler and blogger!

    • Cathy February 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      Thank you Adair. Such great memories and more stories to share.

  6. Leslie Macchiarella February 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    I think you just completed the foodie version of a vertical halfpipe and your snowboard is launching high over the summit on the way to gold! Such a winning exploration of food and the Olympics!

    • Cathy February 20, 2014 at 8:55 am #

      Thanks Leslie, I love your analogy!

  7. Susan Herrmann February 20, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    what a great idea to focus on the food, and how is it that you had all those recipes and photos up your sleeve? Tell us more about what you did, graphic wise. I see you in front of tv sets, but don’t know what you were doing…


    • Cathy February 20, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      Susan, to answer your question, I put graphics on the television screen. At the Albertville Olympics I worked in the International Broadcast Center supplying graphics for the CBS primetime show (like the one you see Bob Costas on in Sochi)

      • Susan Herrmann February 22, 2014 at 6:32 am #

        Wow. Creative and technically adept. Not fair.

        • Cathy February 22, 2014 at 10:45 am #

          Thanks Susan! 🙂

  8. Linda Valen February 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    No matter what you do for any of your blogs, they are always very interesting to read and I learn something every single time. Featuring a variety of foods from around the world for the Olympics was a great idea — the foods are so colorful and mouth-watering too! You are incredibly gifted in so many areas and you’ve done many exciting things throughout the world in your life time … and I know that there is a LOT more to come!! I don’t think there’s an end to your creativity, Cathy!!!!!

    • Cathy February 20, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

      Thanks Linda. I appreciate your kind words! I do look forward to the “more to come”. 🙂

  9. Nan February 21, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Love those fun facts!

    • Cathy February 21, 2014 at 11:59 am #

      Thanks Nan, there were so many fun ones to choose from.

  10. sippitysup February 21, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    I’ve had pig snout and it was too pink. It was also too bland. You didn’t miss much. GREG

    • Cathy February 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      Thanks Greg, I was worried I blew my only opportunity to eat something as fabulous as pig snout salad. I feel much better now!

  11. Fresh Food in a Flash February 22, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    How clever of you to connect the food and culture of the countries to the athletes. Love this roundup.

    • Cathy February 22, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Thank you. Food seems to pair well with everything in life! 🙂

  12. She's Cookin' February 22, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    How exciting to have been part of three Olympics! The food, culture and Olympic facts you share here makes for a thoroughly interesting post – Brilliant!

    • Cathy February 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

      Thanks You! Yes it was fun to be a part of something so global.I naturally tie in food to everything, so this seemed like a natural fit.

  13. thefoodshooter March 7, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Super fun idea! Love it.

    • Cathy March 10, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      So glad you enjoyed it!

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