Chelsea’s kitchen staff work to a tight remit, charged with providing the best and most suitable food possible for the elite level athletes they feed, and they never disappoint.
The chefs consult with Chelsea’s head of science, Nick Broad, over which foods should be eaten on which days. For example following a game players are encouraged to take on high levels of protein, which help repair the body’s systems.
Prior to a game the focus is on building energy, so high carbohydrate levels will likely be found in what is offered. More generally, the best meals will be a combination of repair, energy and protection foods, which are fruit and vegetables.
Use of the canteen is by no means obligatory, but like most people, the offer of a free lunch prepared by someone else can be hard for the players to turn down, particularly when there is so much on offer.
England trio John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole will rarely miss out, the latter often staying afterwards to banter with Daniel Sturridge over the pool table, both professing to be better than the other but neither having yet got their name on the trophy currently held by Chelsea TV’s Ben Andrews.
Yury Zhirkov and Branislav Ivanovic are often seen dining together, as are Brazilian pair Alex and Ramires, who will also lean on regulars Paulo Ferreira, Jose Bosingwa or Hilario for translation while ordering his meals.
Of course, while some never miss out, the sight of some players upstairs is a rarity – among them Nicolas Anelka, frequently the first one out of the door following training, John Mikel Obi and Salomon Kalou.
One group who do often eat together is the coaching staff. Carlo Ancelotti has spoken numerously of his love for food, and is not often rushed at the dinner table as he exchanges ideas, information and jokes with his assistants before rounding things off with one of the many coffees available from the machine in the corner.
Elsewhere in the room there are some expansive corner sofas, facing TVs that are frequently broadcasting Sky Sports News, Sky News or, occasionally, and no one has yet found the culprit, BBC Parliament, or there is also the option of dining al fresco on a balcony that faces the front training pitches.
During periods of double training, usually pre-season, those sofas also form handy snooze stations for resting players between sessions, and duvets have been known to magically appear and create that homely feel.
So there, in summary, is an outline of life inside the Cobham canteen. Just in time for lunch.
Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club