People say that there is nothing better than working on what you really like and if, in addition, you have the opportunity to enjoy your passion while you do, and that’s beyond price.
The case of Henrik Orre goes that way. A lover of cuisine who has been working in the best restaurants for many years but on the other hand, who has lived cycling at home from his childhood thanks to his family, and which has led him to be a real passionate for this sport.
In the last years, Henrik, has been chef of Team Sky and has had the opportunity to live from inside the day to day of a professional team of very high level and to learn a lot about the food that needs a cyclist of this level.
No doubt, a professional career full of experiences and has decided to share some of them in the form of books and culinary sessions under the nickname of Vélochef.
Who is Henrik Orre?
I´m a 37-year-old chef who lives in Stockholm Sweden. I have been a chef for all my working career. I´ve started cooking professionally when I was 18. And I have worked on some of the finest restaurants in Norway and Sweden. I was head chef at a two Michelin starred restaurant in Stockholm called Mathias Dahlgren for 4 years.
Since 2013 I have been a chef with Team Sky pro cycling.
Cycling has always been a big passion and part of my life. I grew up with my brother and father both being elite cyclists in Norway. Both winning the Nationals road cc.
What is Vélochef?
Vélochef was the name I came up with to the book I first released in 2015. If you take the name a part, it’s probably French and means cycling chef! After releasing two books under that brand, I´m now working on developing Vélochef to more than just doing books! There are a lot of future on how to work with the brand, and slowly try to live full time on working with Vélochef.
When do you decide to create your first Vélochef book?
It was the photographer of booth books, Patrik Engström, who approached me and asked if could be interested in doing a book focusing on healthy food and cycling. He had been taken some photos of me for a Swedish internet based cycling mag, and we had a coffee and a talk after that where I spoked about my work as chef for Team Sky. A few weeks later he came back to me with the idea. And his wife was about to start a publishing company, so he basically came with the whole package! Quite quickly we started working on what was to become “Vélochef-Food for training and competition”. We were crossing finger and hoping that we would sell first print which was 6000 copies. That went fast and it has now sold over 20.000 copies and translated to 5 different languages. I still find that hard to believe!
What are your goals with this project?
My goals are to try to make it possible to work with just Vélochef related work. I´m not quite there yet! But I believe that’s possible within a year or two.
What is the future of Vélochef?
We are currently working on book Nr.3! The first two books have been very road cycling oriented, now we go gravel! I gathered a group of friends this summer and we went to Norway for a week. The whole purpose was just to have a great time, ride as much gravel roads as possible in an amazing scenery in Norway. And to be outdoor and do all cooking on open fire, and small potable kitchens. This was also captured on film, so it will be released together with the book next year.
What about your experience in Team Sky?
Working with Team Sky has been an amazing adventure. I have been taking part of a team that have been winning some of the finest bike races in the world. Including Tour D France in 2015-16. It’s a team that´s truly dedicated to work on the highest possible level at all time. Which I can relate to from the background I have from cooking at restaurants on the highest level in their class.
What did you learn when you worked in the Professional Cycling World?
I have learnt a lot about nutrition and how to fuel a bike rider to perform on the highest level in pro cycling. Since I don´t have an education in sport nutrition, this has helped me to understand better how to plan my meals every night for them.
What is your favorite meal? And your favorite road for cycling?
For me that´s an impossible question to answer. Because it´s very often related to who you are with and which expectation you have. I like all food that’s made with passion and exceptional ingredients. But I never turn down a perfect steak with a green salad with a glass of Bourgogne rouge!
I try to go to Mallorca at least two times every year to ride my bike. I love the versatility of the island. You can go climbing, flat or rolling any time you want. The food is also great, and they make some of the best olive oils in world!