Chef’s Dish: Lesley Draper talks to chef Adam Parker

Adam Parker
Adam Parker

Taste the power of a truly healthy meal.

Nutrition is a hefty subject at the best of times – especially where modern athletes are concerned...

Clean and Jerk Chicken - photo by Anchor & Dash

Clean and Jerk Chicken - photo by Anchor & Dash

But chef Adam Parker is in the perfect position to help out, for not only is he a whizz in the kitchen, he’s also a competitive powerlifter and qualified personal trainer.

Now he and brother Simon have joined forces to offer the perfect package for serious sports enthusiasts.

Mean, Clean and Lean is a meal preparation company specialising in sports nutrition: “We produce healthy food for powerlifters, bodybuilders and health nuts!” says Adam.

“The business brings together the three biggest passions in my life: lifting heavy things, cooking and eating tasty food.”

Chef Adam Parker is also a powerlifter and personal trainer

Chef Adam Parker is also a powerlifter and personal trainer

When he first began weightlifting he found himself eating a diet of chicken, rice and broccoli five times a day: “You can imagine how boring that got. And when I looked around to buy something different, I was always disappointed.”

So he and Simon put their head together and created a menu of pre-packed meals, each with a carefully calculated range of macro-nutritional ingredients – the carbohydrates, protein and fat needed by their clients.

“We started this company because, by and large, the options for healthy, clean and tasty meal prep are pretty boring and bland.

“We’re a bit different, but we know food and we know what a modern athlete needs to make gains. We also know how to make food taste awesome!”

The brothers supply a range of local gyms, wholesalers and retailers and will also deliver direct to customers.

“It’s not just big blokes with power bellies! We’ve also had great success helping people who are looking to lose weight or get a leaner physique – such as meals adhering to the 40 30 40 diet programme.”

Adam did his chef training at Grimsby Technology College and gained valuable experience working at a bistro pub in his native Lincolnshire.

Then he came to Sheffield, to study for a BSc in hospitality management at Hallam University.

This included a year in the US, working at Greenwich Country Club where he served celebrities including Ron Howard, Tommy Hilfiger and Bill Murray.

He spent the next decade working in that field. But over this time he also developed his interest in powerlifting – and eventually decided the time had come to switch careers and go back to college.

He qualified as a personal trainer and now works professionally in that field.

But the launch of Mean, Clean and Lean earlier this year allows him to combine both his passions, spending part of his time training athletes and the other half cooking their specialist meals.

As a competitive powerlifter, he adheres to a training regime himself, apart from the odd treat: “I can’t have it very often, but I do love a steak and chips with a good béarnaise,” he admits.

But his signature dish – which he shares here – is the cleverly-named clean and jerk chicken.

“This dish proves you don’t need lots of fats and sugar to make something taste nice,” he says.

For more details visit the website: Mean Clean and Lean

Recipe by Adam Parker: Clean and jerk chicken

INGREDIENTS

(serves four)

4 chicken breasts, no skin

240g brown rice

200ml low fat coconut milk

96g tinned kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Half bunch spring onions, washed

One habanero chilli

Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger

I tsp allspice

1 tsp dried thyme

2 cloves of garlic

100ml extra virgin olive oil (plus ½ tbslp for frying)

1 lime, squeezed

1 tblsp white wine vinegar

280g chopped tomatoes

½ onion

400g broccoli, prepared

METHOD

Using gloves deseed the habanero; prepare spring onions, removing green ends to be used later and discarding root ends. Peel the garlic and ginger.

Put everything in a food processor with the allspice, thyme, olive oil, lime juice and white wine vinegar.

Blitz until a rustic paste forms, then split mixture in two.

Use half to marinate chicken (at least on hour, overnight if possible).

Put other half in a pan with chopped tomatoes and simmer for 30mins.

Meanwhile, clean the rice by steeping in water until water becomes clear.

Dice the onion and spring onion ends and put in a pan (or rice cooker, preferably) with the kidney beans, coconut milk and rice.

Add 400ml water and simmer with a lid on for around 30mins or until rice is cooked.

While rice is cooking, boil water for broccoli and heat extra oil in a separate pan.

When oil is hot seal the chicken (browning on all sides) then place on oven tray, cover in foil and bake for approximately 25min at 200ºC, until chicken juice runs clear.

Add broccoli to boiling water and cook.

To serve, blend sauce to smooth consistency, slice the chicken, drain and plate the broccoli and rice and enjoy!