ANDREW van der Heijden is ready to cook up a storm for Newcastle Falcons this season.
The giant lock forms part of a Kiwi team taking on a home contingent in a culinary contest this afternoon, and has even been preparing by visiting the appropriately-named Cook Islands for his summer holidays.
“We went home to Auckland see the family for a month during the off-season, and had a week in Rarotonga, the biggest of the Cook Islands,” he said.
The 27-year-old is joined by countrymen Jimmy Gopperth, Ryan Shortland, Richard Mayhew and Jamie Helleur for the Kingston Park kitchen clash, with the overseas contingent branding themselves the ‘New Zealand Lambs’.
They will take on a ‘Great British Menu’ trio of Ally Hogg, Rob Vickers and Michael Tait, with the promotional event also doubling up as one of many summer initiatives to enhance team spirit and integrate new signings into the fold.
One such arrival is Helleur, with the highest-profile capture to date being a long-time friend of Van der Heijden.
“I know Jamie from our time together at Auckland Grammar School, and he is a great character,” said the former Blues Super 14 team-mate.
“He likes to have a joke and is a great guy in the changing rooms for keeping spirits up, but when it comes to training and game time he gets down to business. He is serious when he needs to be, and I am sure he will add a lot to the side.”