IndyCar Points Leader Simon Pagenaud, Olympic Gold Medalist Dana Vollmer Team Up With Bay Area Chefs for Cooking Lesson
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 29. 2016) - Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Simon Pagenaud and seven-time Olympic medalist Dana Vollmer visited Oakland's Brown Sugar Kitchen for a one-of-a-kind cooking lesson with award-winning Bay Area chefs, Tanya Holland and Victor Scargle, on Monday.
Pagenaud, a native of France and a food and wine connoisseur, was in the Bay Area in advance of next month's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma series finale (Sept. 16-18). Vollmer, who welcomed a son in 2015, is fresh off her third Olympic Games (Athens, London and Rio) and boasts five Olympic gold medals.
Pagenaud and Vollmer worked with Holland and Scargle in Brown Sugar Kitchen's professionally-equipped kitchen to prepare dishes that fit their signature styles. Pagenaud prepared an updated version of one of his grandmother's recipes: bistro beef tenderloin wrapped in pork belly with French green beans and charred tomatoes. Vollmer, who focuses on a gluten- and egg-free diet, prepared handmade corn tortillas for lamb tacos, as well as a red quinoa salad with figs and apples.
"This was a really fun event," said Pagenaud. "We get to do a lot of fun things as Indycar drivers, but to come and cook with Tanya and Victor was really something special. It felt really good to make something that reminded me of my hometown, and now I can tell my grandma I have some adjustments for one of her recipes."
Away from the kitchen, Pagenaud and Vollmer share a passion for speed. Pagenaud is the Verizon IndyCar Series points leader with four victories and nine top-five finishes so far this season, while Vollmer was on the 2016 Gold Medal-winning 4x100m Medley Relay team and the Silver Medal 4x100 Free Relay, which broke the American record. She also won the Bronze Medal in individual 100m Butterfly in Rio.
"It was so fun to meet Simon and cook with him," said Vollmer, who became the first American mother to win a swimming Gold Medal. "I loved the dishes I made and can't wait to try them at home. Eating healthy and clean is really important for me. When I'm training, I can feel the difference after I put good food in my body, and now, with my son, it's even more important because he eats what I eat."
For the second consecutive year, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Sept. 16-18, will decide the Verizon IndyCar Series champion. The 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course served as a perfect setting for the conclusion of the 2015 season, as Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon claimed his second consecutive Sonoma victory and second Verizon IndyCar Series championship in dramatic fashion. Dixon ultimately won the title as the result of a tiebreaker based on season victories after Juan Pablo Montoya finished sixth in the double-points finale.
"I love Sonoma - both the track and the area. To win this championship, I have to go fast, and we just need to keep doing the same thing we've been doing all year. With the double points race, anything can happen, and this series is known for that," said Pagenaud, who posted a best finish of third in Sonoma in 2014. "I would love to win the championship for Team Penske as we celebrate the team's 50th anniversary. I'm honored to drive for this team, and I'd love to add my name to its incredible history."
For more information or to purchase tickets for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, including preferred parking, garage access, pit and pre-race passes, visit www.sonomaraceway.com/indycar or call 800-870-7223. Kids 12 and under are admitted FREE all weekend and parking is FREE.